“Senseless” is the word that comes to mind when Kathy Schmidt describes the stabbing death of her son.
Paul Schmidt, 37, was killed near a Vancouver coffee shop Sunday evening with his fiancée and young daughter close by.
It happened outside a Starbucks at the corner of Granville and Pender streets just after 5:30 p.m., following a “brief altercation,” police said.
Inderdeep Singh Gosal, 32, has been charged with second-degree murder.
“Investigators do not believe the victim and suspect knew each other,” read a police statement.
Kathy said what’s needed now is justice for her son.
“Just one word. Senseless,” Kathy said on the phone from Kelowna, where she lives and where Paul grew up.
“Senseless that an altercation ended up in a murder. Ended up with my son losing his life.”
Police said they are investigating the killing, including what led up to it, as Paul’s loved ones grieve a man who they say lived for his family.
Fight turns fatal
Kathy received news of her son’s death Monday morning.
She said the fatal encounter took place when Paul was picking up his fiancée from work with their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter in tow. Kathy calls her his wife because the couple had been together for so long.
Kathy said Paul’s fiancée went into the coffee shop to buy drinks. He stayed outside holding their daughter.
According to Kathy, the altercation arose after Paul asked another man to stop vaping near his daughter.
“I’m still not sure what happened, but when his wife came out, the person was in Paul’s face,” Kathy said. “The guy said to [Paul’s fiancée], ‘you better grab your kid.'”
Kathy said Paul gave the little girl to her mother. The two men started to fight.
“Which is so uncharacteristic of Paul. I’ve never seen him fight, ever,” Kathy said.
Kathy said Paul was then stabbed. His fiancée saw the whole thing.
“[She] is absolutely, of course, devastated,” Kathy said, adding Paul’s fiancée and daughter were not physically hurt.
Police said members of the public flagged down a police officer on patrol after the stabbing, who arrested the suspect at the scene.
“We saw the guy get lifted onto the ambulance … The scene around, there had to be at least 15, 20 cop cars. Everyone was just kind of in shock,” said Mark Buckingham, who witnessed the aftermath of the incident after his bus was stopped nearby.
“For it to happen at that location in broad daylight … was just very weird,” he added.
Vancouver Police Sgt. Steve Addison said investigators are hoping to speak to people who saw what happened.
“We believe this homicide was witnessed by dozens of bystanders, and there may be people with information who have not yet come forward,” he said in a statement.
“We particularly want to hear from anyone who was present in the moments before the stabbing, or anyone who has cellphone video of the incident.”
Addison said police are also aware that graphic video of the stabbing has been circulating online. He asked the public to stop sharing it publicly and send any material to police.
‘He was a great dad’
Paul Schmidt was born in Merritt, his mother said, and grew up in Kelowna. At the time of his death, he was working for a moving company in the Lower Mainland.
He loved the outdoors and was very active. He would hike. He would jog. He was easygoing, quiet and hardworking.
His fiancée and daughter were everything to him.
“He lived for them. He was a great dad,” Kathy said.
Paul Schmidt is survived by his mother, father, fiancée and daughter. Kathy said authorities have not released his body yet, and memorial plans have not yet been made.