Father stabbed to death at Vancouver Starbucks after asking man not to vape near his daughter

A 37-year-old father was fatally stabbed in front of his wife and young daughter at a Starbucks in Vancouver by a man now facing a murder charge.

Paul Stanley Schmidt was attacked at the coffee shop at Pender and Granville streets after asking a man not to vape near his three-year-old daughter, the victim’s mother told the Vancouver Sun.

“This is so horribly wrong what happened,” Kathy Schmidt said.

“He was just trying to protect his daughter,” she added. “I’m angry and I’m sad.”

A fundraiser for Mr Schmidt’s family has been organised by the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Garden Society, whose Executive Director Lorraine Lowe is a neighbour and friend of the extended family of Mr Schmidt’s fiancée.

“This tragedy has impacted and sent shockwaves of grief and heartache across the community and it is emotionally gut-wrenching to fathom what his family had to witness in horror,” the organisation wrote.

Mr Schmidt was fatally wounded by another man on the cafe’s patio. He died after being taken to hospital. The suspect is not thought to have had any links to the father.

The incident took place at 5.40pm on Sunday. Mr Schmidt can be seen in very graphic footage from the attack holding his stomach before he lies down on the ground and appears to become unconscious. A large amount of blood can be seen on the ground.

Paul Stanley Schmidt, 37 (GoFundMe / Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden Society of Vancouver)
Paul Stanley Schmidt, 37 (GoFundMe / Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden Society of Vancouver)

Vancouver police are urging people not to share the footage.

“We’re asking anyone who witnessed the homicide on Sunday, or anyone who has bystander video, to contact us and speak with our investigators,” Sgt Steve Addison told the Daily Hive. “Videos and eyewitness accounts could be important evidence in this case. In the interest of the ongoing investigation, and out of respect for everyone impacted by this crime, we’re asking people not to post videos to social media.”

The suspect, identified by police as Inderdeep Singh Gosal, 32, has been charged with second-degree murder following his arrest at the scene on Sunday.

Police said the violence occurred “following a brief altercation”. Mr Gosal is set to appear in court on 11 April.

Ms Schmidt told Global News that “Paul lived for his wife and his daughter… that was his whole life”.

“This man has ruined so many lives,” she added.

The mother told the Vancouver Sun that she wants the charge to be upgraded to first-degree murder. Such a charge requires that premeditation be proven.

“He had a knife,” she later told the paper. “I don’t carry a knife into a coffee shop, do you?”

Ms Schmidt said that her son’s fiancée, Ashley Umali, had relayed to her that she was inside the Starbucks while Mr Schmidt and their young daughter Erica were waiting outside with the child in a stroller.

“It all started because he was vaping beside the baby. Ashley’s in shock, she watched the whole thing. She’s so devastated,” the mother of the victim said.

The operations manager of the moving company Jiffy Move, where Mr Schmidt had worked for the last half-decade, told the paper that he was “a great guy and a hard worker”.

“He was a devoted husband and father,” Sean Collings added.

The murder is the sixth to take place in Vancouver this year.

Witness Alex Bodger told Global News that it was a traumatizing sight.

“It’s not something you think you would see walking down the street in Vancouver on a Sunday,” he said.

Mr Bodger said the suspect went back into the Starbucks following the stabbing and that all he was able to hear were people screaming.

“Every time I think about the situation I get this feeling in my chest which is pure fear,” the witness told Global News.

Ken Sim, the mayor of Vancouver, told Global News that it was “a senseless act and it’s absolutely terrible”.

“Our hearts and our thoughts go out to Mr Schmidt, Mr Schmidt’s family – everyone who loves him,” he added.

Starbucks Canada spokesperson Leanna Rizzi said in a statement that “this is a tragic situation and our hearts are with all those involved and affected by this incident. We are thankful our partners (employees) are safe and our focus is on supporting them”.

“Partners have been offered support through our LifeWorks Employee Assistance Program to assist them through this difficult time. I do not have information to share at this time regarding when the store will reopen,” she added.