Police issue warning after Burnaby assault and homicide

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Police have issued a public warning following a random assault of a woman in a Burnaby neighbourhood near Boundary Road on Sunday morning.

The incident occurred at 1:40 a.m. on the 4800-block of Smith Avenue. According to a police release, the female victim was approached from behind by a man who struggled with her and knocked her to the ground.

When she screamed, the suspect fled the area. He is described as an individual with light skin, short dark hair, about 5’11” tall and approximately 165 lbs in weight. At the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing a black coat and black pants.

This comes just three days after the homicide of 33-year-old Elmer Libertino. On April 16 at 3 a.m., he was found lying in a pool of blood in the middle of Moscrop Avenue near Smith Avenue – just one block away from the Sunday assault.

Both incidents occurred during the early morning hours and with victims who were walking in the area. Police investigators are working to determine whether there are any links between the two incidents, but the similar circumstances of the incidents are a cause for a public warning.

Please trust your instincts and be aware of your surroundings and if at all possible travel in pairs, especially if you are out walking late at night, said Staff Sgt. Major John Buis in a statement. “Please be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police.”

Anyone who may have helpful information or witnessed suspicious activity in the area is asked to call Burnaby RCMP at 604-294-7922 or CrimeStoppers (anonymous hotline) at 1-800-222-8477.

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