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Accused out on bail

Pemberton man back in area after early morning attack

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The 21 year old Pemberton man accused of stabbing his neighbour last week has been released back into the community.

Brandon Sarauer made his first appearance in North Vancouver Provincial Court last Thursday, and now faces charges of attempted murder, break and entry, and uttering threats, after an early morning attack on two Pemberton residents.

At around 5 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 18, Sarauer allegedly broke into a home on Hemlock Street, entered the bedroom, and attacked the sleeping occupants with a knife.

The 32 year old male occupant was able to fight off the attacker, while his partner ran to get the help of neighbours. By the time the police arrived, Sarauer was subdued and was taken into custody.

Local RCMP members say they are unsure of a motive behind the crime, but nothing was stolen and there is no known connection between the Sarauer and the unnamed victims besides the fact that he lived nearby.

In the days following the arrest, police said the public should rest assured that the incident was a one-off event, and that they would be seeking Sarauer’s detention until the matter was fully dealt with by the courts.

But a few days later, Sarauer was released on $25,000 bail, with a $10,000 cash deposit. No psychological assessment was ordered before his release.

Staff Sergeant Steve LeClair says Sarauer’s release wasn’t that surprising, given the fact that he doesn’t have a criminal history. While the RCMP and Crown counsel can request the accused be held in custody, it is ultimately up to the judge to decide on the matter of bail.

“Sometimes the judges make these decisions, and they are the arbiter of fact and it’s their decision. The position of the police and the position of Crown was that he be held in custody, but it’s not up to us to make that final decision.”

Sarauer is scheduled to reappear on Feb. 12 for an arraignment hearing, but in the meantime he must abide by a number of conditions, which include reporting to a bail supervisor, living at a specific Pemberton address, and being accompanied by one of his parents whenever he leaves their home. He is also prohibited from having weapons, including knives, and cannot come into contact with the victims or witnesses.

Staff Sgt. LeClair says the victims were immediately notified that Sarauer had been released, and that members of the public should rest assured that they are safe.

“The police will be monitoring this individual and taking appropriate action as is necessary,” he said.

Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy was hesitant to comment on the recent attack and release of the suspect, because he doesn’t want to compromise the ongoing investigation, trial or recovery of the victims.

“It’s one of those issues that’s before the courts,” Sturdy said. “I know the conditions of his release, and I know what the RCMP are doing about it.”

Sturdy says he has heard rumours that there was a “tremendously long” response time of almost 45 minutes by the RCMP, but says that is simply untrue as an officer was on scene within 13 minutes.

He points out that there are many law enforcement members who live within the community, but says incidents like this demonstrate a need for an increased police presence.

“We will be discussing with the RCMP their scheduling and looking at opportunities to enhance that service, because it does highlight a need for 24-hour a day RCMP coverage,” Sturdy explained. “We do have it, but the response times are not necessarily what we would like to see.”

Sturdy added that he hadn’t heard of Sarauer before the recent attack, and despite his release feels the community is safe.

“I do feel that there’s no ongoing danger to the community.”

He has also spoken with the victims a few times since the attack.

“The victims have been traumatized, severely traumatized… so I’m trying to see if I can facilitate whatever assistance they need that we can do, we’ll do,” Sturdy said.

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