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Woman in custody, charges pending following Lions Park LRT station stabbing

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Calgary police say they've arrested a woman in connection with a stabbing at the Lions Park LRT station that stemmed from a fight between several people.

Charges against the woman are pending.

Officers with the CPS district operations team responded around 8 p.m. on Tuesday, and discovered two women suffering from apparent stab wounds and a third woman injured as well.

One of the injured women was taken to hospital in life-threatening condition.

The other two were also taken to hospital, but their conditions were not considered life-threatening.

The latter two women have since been released from hospital, police say.

Police have not released the name of or details about the woman arrested.

But police did say on Wednesday the women involved in Tuesday night's altercation all knew each other.

"Public spaces need to be safe for the public and this type of violent behaviour will not be tolerated," CPS Superintendent Cliff O'Brien said in Wednesday's release.

PUBLIC TRANSIT SAFETY CONCERNS

Some transit riders who regularly use Lions Park LRT station weren't all that surprised by this latest incident.

"I've seen many people shooting up heroin. I've been seeing people with needles out in the station," Richard Clement said.

"I've been looking to take self-defence courses for stabbings because that is the thing I'm mostly seeing in the news nowadays."

Tristin Otteson says he usually feels safe on transit but this recent violence has made him want to be more cautious.

"Just my social awareness and watching how other people are behaving," he said.

Mike Mahar, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 583, says safety concerns have reached a critical stage for both riders and operators.

"Another day, another major, life-threatening incident on the system. There's just no end to it," he said.

Mahar says transit operators aren't trained or qualified to intervene when there is violence, adding they do what they can to help passengers, often putting themselves in harm's way.

"The system doesn't exist without the public, and everyone has to be able to use that system safety," he said.

Mahar says the partnership between Alberta sheriffs and Calgary police to patrol the city's downtown helps, but he wants more sustainable solutions.

"For those that are a criminal element, they need to treat them harsher and not tolerate the criminal portion of it. For those that need help, they need to provide that help," he said.

The city says it has increased its transit peace officers by 25 per cent, has added security guards at several stations where concerns have been reported and has put in more security cameras.

One city councillor wants to take it a step further with a "closed" system.

"Where we could actually have physical barriers and a fare gate that will maybe not allow just free back and forth access to our transit systems," said Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean.

"We've allowed people to use transit as a place for recreational drug use, to put it simply, or a place to stay warm, which is unfortunate, but that is not what transit is designed for. We should have been clamping down on it sooner."

Mayor Jyoti Gondek released a statement on Wednesday, saying low ridership during the pandemic made the transit system a target for illegal activity, but the problem isn't getting any better.

She has called on administration for immediate action and for additional resources to be deployed.

"We cannot wait for the next tragedy to occur before something more is done. As a municipal government, we must provide better transit safety for Calgarians," the statement said.

"Transit is an essential service at the core of any major city and people should not have to think twice before using it."

The city says transit riders can report concerns on their route by texting 74100 in real time.

There are also help phones at all C-Train stations, platforms and MAX Purple Stations. 

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