By Avleen K Mokha
“I share my story for the safety of my people.”
A resident of Park Extension decided to take a brief stroll with his friend. Together, the two headed towards Jarry Park late Friday evening, April 20.
They were passing the entrance to the Saint Roch swimming pool when a man approached from the shadows of a stairwell. The stranger threw a stone at Surinder, shouted and demanded money.
The attacker blocked the two men from walking back to safety. The attacker yelled racial slurs at the two residents, using profane language. When they said they didn’t have money to give him, the attacker said that he can kill. Surinder says that he told the man to let them go, else they will call the police. That’s when the man began physically assaulting Surinder.
“He started punching me on the face,” Surinder said. “Once he started, he didn’t stop.”
Surinder was bleeding from his nose and eyes and asking his friend to run. With one hand on his face and one hand leaning onto a wall, he dialed 911 for help around 11:20 pm.
“The officers arrived within moments,” Surinder said, referring to members of the police department #33. “They wasted no time.”
An ambulance arrived soon after to take the two residents to Jean Talon Hospital.
Identifying the attacker
The man who attacked Surinder is black and has a slim athletic figure. Surinder says it was difficult to tell how tall the attacker was because he moved close to them quickly.
Still, Surinder guesses that the man may be 5 feet and 8 inches tall. He had long curly hair put up into a ponytail and wore black trousers and a full-sleeved shirt with a logo that night. He had a light beard, with a bit of a moustache on the evening of the attack.
Medical treatment after the attack
“He hit me very hard on my neck and my head,” Surinder said. Surinder realized that his friend also got hurt. His friend was punched similarly, with blows on the face and on the ear.
Surinder’s left eye was not opening. The nurse Surinder saw at the emergency room was not sure if his nose was fractured.
The doctor used a reading test, a machine, and an ultrasound to assess the extent to which Surinder’s eye was hurt. Eventually, he found out that a vein in his eye was full of blood, which blocked the blood flow to the eye.
The doctor told Surinder that although the attack was very dangerous, he will be able to see again. His face is swollen, and it hurts when he breathes. He is taking medication prescribed to him and contacting his doctor to follow up.
Man identified by police
After the residents received medical attention, the police filed incident reports. The residents returned to the scene of attack with the police early Saturday evening. According to Surinder, the police suspected that cameras located outside the Park Extension library may have captured the attacker running away.
Surinder was called to the police office along with his friend to identify the attacker on Saturday, April 25. They both identified the same photograph while staying in separate rooms.
Surinder was told that the man will be arrested. The two residents are waiting to receive a call from the Court.
Attack victim fears for the less mobile, fears for minorities
Surinder fears for both the children and the elderly of Park Extension. Both he and his friend are in their late thirties and were physically capable of trying to run.
“Believe me, if he punched an older person, it will be a disaster,” Surinder said.
He tried to snatch the cell phones of both residents.
The attacker identified the two residents as “Indians” and told that he did want “people like you.”
When attacking his friend, the attacker used a specific Hindi swear word, behnchod, when he threatened to kill Surinder’s friend. The residents speculate the attacker had Indian friends or knew a bit of the language.
“What I’m scared about is that because it’s Park Extension, it’s Jarry Park, I’ve seen so people go to walk there,” Surinder said, adding how he especially sees South Asian elderly men and women frequent the park.
As a father of two children, he worries that one of his family members can be attacked.
“In my heart, I’m concerned for every kid here.”
“In my heart, I’m concerned for every kid here. When I think of the elderly and imagine something happening to them, I think about my mother. They do not have the physical strength it takes to bear this kind of aggression. I share my story for the safety of my people.”
While Surinder is physically okay, he says he feels psychologically disturbed. From his window, he watched families walk on the street and wishes he could tell them to go back inside.
Surinder plans to seek psychological help to cope with what happened to him.
The SPVM confirmed that a report was filed regarding an aggressive attack on two men. Police officials were unable to comment further on this specific case.
Surinder is not the real name of the interviewee. Surinder is a name that Parc-Extension News chose for the victim to protect his identity.
This article was published on May 1 for the PX News print issue. Click here to read the full issue.