COVID-19 in Vancouver: Male suspect assaults 7-Eleven manager after refusing to wear mask

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      A verbal conflict over wearing a mask at a West Side convenience store in Vancouver escalated into a physical assault and police are seeking to identify a male suspect involved in the incident.

      Vancouver Police Department (VPD) spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin stated today (January 22) that as investigators have "exhausted all leads to locate the suspect", they are now asking for assistance from the public in locating this suspect.

      The VPD explained that shortly before noon on December 17, a store manager at a 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue asked a customer, who entered without wearing a mask and was accompanied by a small dog, to wear a mask.

      The customer spat on the manager and yelled profanities at him.

      A witness told police that when the manager asked the customer to take his dog out of the store and to put on a mask, the two men became involved in a physical altercation.

      The manager sustained a cut on his head from the assault.

      Vancouver Police Department

      Police described the suspect as appearing to be in his 20s with dark skin and medium build, and about 178 centimetres (five-feet, 10-inches) tall.

      At the time of the alleged incident, he was wearing a black t-shirt, black Kappa shorts, a light-coloured hooded sweater, and black running shoes.

      The VPD released surveillance footage and images of the suspect today.

      Anyone who can identify the suspect or has information about this incident is asked to call the VPD. Anyone who fails to wear face coverings in a public indoor space can face a fine of $230.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.