A man arrested following a stabbing rampage at a North Vancouver library that killed one woman and sent six to hospital has a history of threatening people with a knife, Winnipeg court records show.
North Vancouver RCMP have charged 28-year-old Yannick Bandaogo with second-degree murder and other offences. He remains in custody.
In January, Bandaogo was sentenced in Winnipeg to 160 days of time served and one year of supervised probation, after admitting to threatening to stab two city employees.
Court heard the two were on patrol in the Exchange District, Aug. 10, 2020, shortly after 6 p.m., when they came upon Bandaogo, who started yelling at them and making threatening gestures to cut their necks.
The pair continued on their route, with Bandaogo continuing to yell at them and make slicing gestures at his throat.
At McDermot Avenue and Arthur Street, Bandaogo walked toward them with a 12-inch knife, saying: "I will cut you."
Bandaogo continued to threaten the two civic employees as they called police, who arrived a short time later and arrested the man.
Bandaogo later pleaded guilty to two counts of uttering threats and one count of carrying a concealed weapon. Two counts of assault with a weapon were stayed.
Asked why he had the knife in the first place, Bandaogo told provincial court Judge Lee Ann Martin he needed it for protection, after street gangs twice tried to attack him.
"I had the knife to defend myself," Bandaogo said. "If I didn’t have the knife, I would have died in the street… It was for intimidating people — if they were going to attack me."
Martin said she believed Bandaogo when he said it was dangerous on the street, but he threatened people who posed no threat to him.
"Three times, you followed them, you threatened to cut them, and you brandished your knife," Martin said. "You didn’t use it in your defence, you scared those people. We can’t have that."
Bandaogo, an amateur boxer, was born in Montreal and was still living in Quebec when he became homeless about two years ago, court heard.
"Unfortunately, over the last two years, there have been family problems with his parents… He found himself itinerant," said his lawyer, Jean-René Dominique Kwilu.
Prior to his arrest, Bandaogo had been planning to move to Alberta to live with a cousin and look for a job, Dominique Kwilu said.
"There were possibilities for jobs… but his English level isn’t excellent," he said.
Dominique Kwilu said one year of probation would provide Bandaogo the support he needed to complete his high school education, access francophone services and improve his English.
Martin agreed, saying: "I feel one year (probation) will be enough to get him back on his feet."
Three weeks later, a warrant was issued for Bandaogo’s arrest, after he failed to report to his probation officer.
Bandaogo has a court record in Quebec as well, where warrants were previously issued for his arrest, after he allegedly breached court orders.
Bandaogo pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon causing bodily harm in September 2019, and a year earlier was sentenced to one month in jail for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest in Longueuil, Que., a suburb of Montreal.
On the same day, he was also sentenced to four months for assault causing bodily harm and three months in connection with two other assault cases.
Bandaogo was arrested March 27 after seven people, ranging in age from 22 to 78, were attacked in and around North Vancouver's Lynn Valley Library.
RCMP have said they don’t know why Bandaogo came to the West Coast or when. Police said Bandaogo was not known to any of the victims.
Mayor Mike Little said the community is shocked and saddened by the attack.
"No one expects to be confronted with violence while going about their day in a civic plaza outside a library and just running their errands for the course of the day. It's an absolute shock."
— with files from The Canadian Press
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.
Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.