(Saanich Police)

Two employees of a Saanich liquor store had an unexpected start to the day today after a man brandished a knife towards them when asked to leave the store.

The incident occurred around 9 a.m. Thursday morning inside a liquor store in the 3200-block of Shelbourne Street.

According to a media release from Saanich Police, the suspect brandished a knife toward at least one of the staff members and witnesses said they saw the man chasing the staff with the knife inside the store.

Witnesses and staff from the business told police the altercation began after the man was asked to leave the store.

He became agitated and began physically assaulting one of the employees.

When another employee tried to intervene, the suspect “violently bit” that employee and brandished a large knife, threatening both with it before eventually leaving the store.

Saanich Police said they were called while the assault was still in progress and quickly swarmed the area. With the assistance of the Integrated Canine Section, officers were able to locate the man hiding in some nearby bushes.

He was taken into police custody without incident. The knife was found discarded nearby and seized by police.

“One of the employees was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries related to the bite injury to their arm. The other employee was treated by paramedics at the scene,” said Cst. Markus Anastasiades.

The 35-year-old suspect is known to police and is facing charges of assault causing bodily harm, breach of conditions of not to possess weapons, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

He remains in custody pending a bail hearing later today.

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