Burnaby man arrested in connection with assault of security guard

A man arrested in connection with what police called the "extraordinarily violent" assault of a security guard in the lobby of a Vancouver residential tower will appear in court Sept. 15.

John Alexander Thomas Stronach, 29, of Burnaby, was arrested Thursday and has been charged with robbery, aggravated assault and uttering threats to cause bodily harm or death.

Vancouver police Const. Jana McGuinness said the Aug. 4 incident, which involved a South Asian security guard, is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

A John A. Stronach is listed on the Sutton Group Realty Services website as a Coquitlam realtor working for Sutton West Coast Realty.

Calls to the realtor and his manager went unanswered Sunday, and a respondent answering phones at Sutton would not confirm whether the men were one and the same.

"We have no comment at this time," she said, declining to give her name.

When The Sun called the office again to speak to Stronach the paging service indicated that he was no longer associated with Sutton. When asked since when, the response was "today."

According to a biography for John A. Stronach reached via a hyperlink on Sutton's website, 10 per cent of the realtor's sales are donated to a charitable organization named the Stronach Family Foundation.

The website for the foundation is under construction, but according to pages cached by Google, "The Stronach Family Foundation is a non-profit NGO that acts as a catalyst to enable the growth and success of various humanitarian projects often focused in Africa."

John Stronach is listed as director and chief of operations at the foundation.

According to a cached page, John Stronach graduated in 2006 with a degree in psychology from Trinity Western University.

"His education included a focus on cross cultural communication and international development," reads the site.

Calls to John Stronach at the listed number, and to the president and the director of the foundation were not returned.

According to Ajah, a company that tracks sources of funding for non-profit in Canada, the foundation provided $92,500 to the Parish of St. Oswald's, Port Kells, in Surrey from 2007 to 2009.

The temporary vicar at the parish said he did not personally know the Stronach family.

Police say the assault occurred in the early hours of Aug. 4 in the lobby of a residential tower in the 500 block of Pacific Boulevard.

A group of people were making noise near the rear entrance of the lobby. The security guard, a 26-year-old South Asian man from Surrey, requested they either come inside or leave.

Rather than departing, the suspect allegedly followed the guard back to his post and attacked him.

McGuinness said the man kneed the guard in the face and body multiple times, then punched and kicked him in an attack that lasted several minutes.

Police appealed to the public more than once in an attempt to identify the suspect.

They described him as six feet tall, 30 years old, with short hair and a muscular build. At the time of the alleged assault, he was clean-cut and well dressed.

mrobinson@vancouversun.com With files from Janet Steffenhagen

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