Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Canadian Bus Stabbing

A young man was stabbed Sunday, September 21, 2008, aboard a Winnipeg-bound Greyhound bus travelling near the town of White River, about 300 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, according to reporter Marcus Grundt of Canadian Press.

Police are investigating a stabbing aboard the Greyhound bus eerily on its way Winnipeg, during an incident in which a young man was attacked by another passenger as the vehicle travelled through northern Ontario. It appears to mirror another recent Greyhound bus involving Winnipeg.

The man who was stabbed is believed to be in his 20s. He was taken to hospital Sunday afternoon with minor injuries, the Sault Star newspaper reported.

Police arrested a 28-year-old man near the town of White River, shortly after the bus driver let him get off at the side of the highway.

“I can confirm that an incident did occur aboard one of our buses,” said Greyhound spokesperson Abby Wambaugh, speaking from Dallas, Texas.

“The incident occurred 10 miles [16 kilometres] east of White River,” she said. “The bus originated in Toronto and was headed for its final destination of Winnipeg.”

Wambaugh said the company is “co-operating fully” with Ontario Provincial Police in the investigation.

Another bus was provided for the 13 remaining passengers to continue on their trip.

Update: Police in Ontario admitted they put a mentally troubled convict on a Winnipeg-bound Greyhound bus Sunday afternoon but don't know how he managed to sneak a knife on board which was later used to stab a sleeping passenger.

Monday's revelation has sparked multiple investigations and left critics howling in protest, saying the case further underscores how dangerous public bus transportation is in Canada.

"It's absolutely astounding," said Winnipeg defence lawyer Jay Prober, who recently filed a lawsuit against the RCMP and Greyhound following the July murder and beheading of Winnipeg resident Tim McLean on board a Greyhound near Portage la Prairie.

"This latest incident is just a vindication of the lawsuit, not that we needed it. What's it going to take for Greyhound to do something to protect their passengers? Are they waiting for someone else to get killed?"

David Wayne Roberts, 28, of Manitouwadge, Ontario, has been charged with aggravated assault and breach of probation. He will appear in a Sault Ste. Marie courtroom Tuesday morning. (As has been noted by various researchers, for some strange reason many violent criminals share the middle name "Wayne.")

The 20-year-old victim suffered non life-threatening injuries after passengers say he was stabbed in the chest while sitting on the bus around 4:15 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. He remains in hospital but is expected to be released later this week. His name and hometown haven't been released.

Winnipeg author Anita Daher (upcoming book in 2009, On the Trail of the Bushman, set in the Yukon) was on the bus and witnessed the attack. She told the Winnipeg Free Press on Sunday night the attack was unprovoked and happened shortly after police brought the man on board.

OPP and municipal police confirmed her story Monday, saying there was no apparent history between the victim and the accused and no motive has been established.

Police said Roberts boarded the bus in Wawa, Ontario, armed with a ticket that had been paid for with social-assistance funds supplied to him by the Wawa municipal police earlier in the day. The OPP confirmed they were asked to assist in getting Roberts on his way. Wawa Sgt. Larry Ross told CBC they first dealt with Roberts early Sunday morning when they charged him with causing a public disturbance. Roberts has a previous criminal history and is currently on probation for unspecified convictions. Ross said they briefly detained Roberts but released him later in the morning.

Roberts then returned to the police station a few hours later, seeking to be taken to hospital for what Ross called "psychological reasons." Roberts was examined by a doctor but then released after they found no reason to hold him under the Mental Health Act.

Police then stepped in to help get Roberts on his way back home, which they said is a common practice. Ross told CBC they searched him immediately after his arrest and before going to the hospital but not before he boarded the bus because there was no valid, lawful reason to do so.

Ross and other members of the Wawa detachment did not return several Free Press calls seeking comment Monday.

Manitoba RCMP Sgt. Line Karpish told the Free Press it's not unusual to assist transients and hitchhikers with transportation - especially when the weather turns colder in the fall and winter. She said the expenses are usually covered by the town or municipality but police may be asked to assist with arrangements.

"We wouldn't just leave someone out there in the middle of nowhere," said Karpish. She said a person who is clearly intoxicated would be detained until they sobered up, while a person exhibiting obvious signs of mental illness would be examined.

"A mentally deranged person would not just be turned loose on a bus," she said.

The RCMP occasionally transport criminals on commercial flights but never use buses or trains, said Karpish.

"Obviously public safety is first and foremost. We have a two-to-one ratio of officers (to prisoner) and they are always handcuffed and shackled. We have to notify the airlines and ultimately it's the pilot that has the last say as to whether we board or not," said Karpish.

"We do it very discreetly, usually first in, last out. And all prisoners would be searched multiple times," she said.

The incident comes less than two months after a Greyhound passenger beheaded Tim McLean, a 22-year-old man from Winnipeg, sparking questions about security on buses.

Vince Weiguang Li, 40, is charged with second-degree murder and is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation to see whether he is fit to stand trial. He’s scheduled to appear in court October 6, 2008.

(Thanks to K. McGillis and S. Lewis for media input.)


missmeow said...

First and foremost, I would like to clarify a few things that seem to have been omitted from all this news and talk about David W Roberts and the Greyhound Bus attack ! David had been involved with the Wawa Ont. Police, in an early morning incident which was obvious that he was having a mental health related problem,in which he was detained for a short time before the Police sent him on his way , David then returned to the Police Dept. BEGGING for HELP ! as he is a mental health patient and has been diagnoised with bipolar/scitsophrenia and has been on medication for years, I know I am his Mother ,and at the time was off his medication due to his mental health condition at the time of the incident! he returned to the Police Dept more than once asking ,nearly begging for a hospital telling the Police he was mentally ill ! and wanting HELP ! They finally took him to emerg. at the Wawa On. hospital and there was not even a Doctor there to see him at first, or if at all ! It was there he was DETERMINED by the hospital to be of "NO" risk to "himself" OR "anyone eles" ! and sent away with the POLICE , David was still asking to be put in hospital for HELP ! But just given a BUS TICKET and put on the bus by the O.P.P. ??? AND WE TRUST THESE PEOPLE WITH OUR LIVES ??? We tell our CHILDREN to go to these people for help ? WOW ! WHO IS TO BLAME HERE ? hmmm , I think maybe the government should be teaching our hospital Doctors, staff, and our Police Officers a LOT MORE about detecting Mental Illness !! Obviously David Roberts was NOT of sane mind at the time this happened ! It is of MY opinion the O.P.P. and the hospital need to be reprimanded severly," For this would NEVER HAVE HAPPENED IF THEY HAD ONLY LISTENED TO DAVID ROBERTS WHEN HE WAS BEGGING FOR HELP OF HIS OWN NEEDING MEDICAL MENTAL HELP "! People seem to be looking at this from the WRONG point of view ! Who do we trust ? who do we tell our children to go to for help ? I always thought our Police were there to help and protect us and our children ? not just get rid of our problems as fast as they can and pass the buck on to someone eles ?

Loren Coleman said...

Needless to say, I have no way of confirming identities of individuals who post on here.

But, just in case this is Mr. Robert's mother, I wanted to give her a forum for her point-of-view, which is worthy of listening to, re: this incident.

I certainly hope Mr. Robert's obtains the mental health help he needs.