More than one month after Vancouver police issued a public warning following Kayla Kelly’s release, the 29-year-old has been released from custody again after pleading guilty Friday to three separate assaults last year.
One of the guilty pleas relates to a Sept. 25, 2023 assault, during which she threw an unknown liquid at a man in a random attack at a Safeway in New Westminster.
Three days later on Sept. 28, she assaulted a peace officer in Vancouver and on Nov. 6, struck a 70-year-old man in a wheelchair in the back of the head, after she was asked to leave a residential building on the Downtown Eastside.
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Kevin Usher has a room at the Portland Hotel at 20 W. Hastings St., where Kelly has been ordered to reside by the courts.
He said police are sometimes called to the supportive housing building to deal with Kelly.
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“I’ve seen her hog-tied and taken out when she was being, in my opinion, she was being calm,” Usher told Global News Tuesday.
“She wasn’t yelling, she wasn’t screaming, she wasn’t swearing — she was having a normal conversation.”
On Dec. 21, the VPD said Kelly had been recently arrested on allegations of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon related to a serious random stranger attack, and warned “her unpredictable behaviour puts the public at risk.”
“We felt very strongly that it was necessary to take this extraordinary step to let people know,” Sgt. Steve Addison said in an interview Tuesday.
At the time of the VPD warning, Kelly was released by police on an undertaking with conditions, while investigators continued to collect evidence to support charges.
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“We’ll do everything that we can to push this case as far as we can, push it hopefully to the point where we can secure the evidence that we need to obtain criminal charges,” Addison said.
Kelly was accused of assault with a weapon for allegedly stabbing a 41-year-old woman in the leg with a needle on March 8, 2022 in a stranger attack in Chinatown.
In early June 2022, Coquitlam RCMP said Kelly was wanted on a BC Mental Health Act warrant, and warned she may behave in a way that presents a risk to herself or the public.
Days later on June 14, 2022, Kelly was accused of breaching her release by possessing a weapon in Vancouver.
Months later, Kelly was accused of assaulting two VPD officers on Sept. 20, 2022.
The Crown stayed all three 2022 charges last March.
“We’re doing what we can as a police agency and working with our partners to address those public safety concerns,” Addison said.
Usher said he’s had no negative interactions with Kelly.
“I think she’s a nice girl,” Usher said. “I know a lot of people down here have mental health issues.”
Kelly, who is accused of breaching her release order in Vancouver on Jan. 17 and breaching an undertaking on Jan. 19, must abide by several release conditions including staying away from 40 E. Hastings St. and 53 W. Hastings St., not possessing weapons, and working with the ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) team that supports people living with complex mental health and/or substance use disorders.
“I think it’s a great thing … maybe she’s finally not falling through the cracks,” Usher added.
“A lot of people do right, especially down here. You get kind of kicked to the curb and forgotten about.”
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