A Vancouver man has been charged with aggravated assault after an alleged attack on two young women who’d rented his Airbnb suite.
“I don’t know what happened with him and these specific two young ladies,” said witness and neighbour Saad Mustafa. “But he flipped on them in a very, very violent way.
“It (was) horrifying. There was blood everywhere.”
It was a terrifying wake up call for Mustafa, who said he saw his now-former neighbour allegedly turn on his Airbnb guests. Global News has learned the guests are two sisters from Alberta.
Around three a.m. on May 27, he said he heard frantic female screams and a man yelling.
“He was pushing the girl against the wall, and I heard banging against the wall,” Mustafa recalled. “He was saying, ‘Why did you push my cat?’”
His gut instinct told him to get up and have a look. He said he opened his apartment door to a horrific scene in the hallway.
“One young lady, she appeared to have a stab wound in the neck or neck area. It was covered with a white long scarf or shawl. She was on the floor lying on her back and she was bleeding very, very badly,” he said.
“There was another young lady who was pinned to the wall and being threatened by a knife.”
Mustafa said he ran back into his apartment to grab his phone and called 911, while the attacker was still armed.
“I was yelling at him to drop the knife.”
Startled, he said the suspect left through a side door.
In the seconds before emergency crews arrived, Mustafa said he stood watch, making sure the seriously injured woman kept pressure on her neck.
“I personally had a very serious concern that she would not survive.”
Police and paramedics were able to save her, once the suspect was arrested, he said.
Arvin Pasha, 32, has since been charged with one count of aggravated assault involving two alleged victims.
“This was very surprising to me,” said Mustafa, who said he’s known the suspect for six years.
Airbnb confirmed the May 27 incident took place at a listing in Vancouver involving the host and guests.
In a statement, the company said there have been more than 1 billion guest arrivals on Airbnb to date and incidents like this are exceptionally rare. When they do happen, Airbnb said it takes immediate action to support guests.
“The violence reported has no place in our community and we take these incidents incredibly seriously,” it said in a statement.
“In this case, that has included a full refund as well as support with flights and other expenses. The host has been removed from our platform, and we stand ready to support the Vancouver Police Services in their investigation.”
The City of Vancouver confirmed there is a valid 2022 short-term rental business licence for the apartment unit linked to the alleged Airbnb stabbing.
Under the city’s bylaws, if a licence holder is convicted of an offence, city staff would conduct a review to determine next steps regarding the status of that licence.
According to federal regulator Corporations Canada, Pasha was the director of a numbered company that listed unit 5 of 2130 West 3rd Avenue in Vancouver as its registered office. Records show the company was incorporated in 2020 and dissolved in February.
“It’s very, very scary — very alarming,” said Mustafa, who was grateful to learn both alleged victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
“Prior to knowing that they survived, I was a mess,” said Mustafa. “Have I done enough, should I have done more? Why didn’t I do more?”
Pasha remains in custody pending a psychiatric assessment scheduled for June 24. None of the allegations has been tested in court.
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