WARNING: The details of this story may be disturbing to some readers.
Edmonton police say a mother appeared to be moments from death as officers rushed in to stop an attack Wednesday afternoon.
A 30-year-old man faces several charges, including aggravated assault, in connection with the violent attack on a woman who picked up her three children from a central Edmonton day care facility, police said in a press release Friday.
The woman was standing outside the Seven Stones daycare and babysitting outside the school on 111 Street near 105 Avenue, waiting for the front door to unlock around 6 p.m. 15.45 when the police said she was contacted by a man she did not ‘know’.
It was reported to police that a man – believed to be disabled – tried by force to pull a backpack off the woman’s shoulders.
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Police said she was holding on to the backpack as the suspect unpacked it and tried to reach inside.
The two then started fighting, and police said the man allegedly grabbed the woman’s hair and threw her down, repeatedly smashing her head against the sidewalk.
Police were already in the area and responded to another call that allegedly involved the same man trying to break into vehicles in the area.
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“Two of our members saw the male suspect strangle the woman on the ground and hurried to help,” Insp. Said Erik Johnson.
Officers came across the fight and arrived to find the suspect sitting on top of the woman while allegedly strangling her into unconsciousness.
“Two more minutes, and we might be talking about a murder today.
“The incident itself is extremely disturbing and was exacerbated by the fact that two of her young children saw the entire incident through the day door to the day care center,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the suspect admitted to police he was high on methamphetamine at the time “and it certainly played a role in his behavior.”
“This lady was in the right place, but unfortunately at the wrong time, and I think he was so high on methamphetamine that he would have attacked someone that he could have made some money.”
Police said day care staff saw the attack happen, but for the safety of the children inside, they kept the doors locked and did not go out to intervene.
Paramedics treated and transported the woman to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police said she has since been released from the hospital.
Johnson said sacrificial services have helped the family after the six- and eight-year-olds witnessed their mother being attacked.
“It’s never an easy thing for a child to see.”
There have been several attacks on black and Muslim women in Edmonton in the past year – but Johnson said this was a crime of opportunity, not one motivated by hatred.
“It could have been someone in the same position,” he said of the victim.
Rockie Rabbit, 30, has been charged with aggravated assault, strangulation for overcoming resistance, robbery and breach of conditions.
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