Man on Greyhound bus going to Winnipeg stabbed, then beheaded victim: passengers
July 31, 2008 - 13:31
By: Steve Lambert, THE CANADIAN PRESS
RCMP officers investigate a "major incident" that occured on a Greyhound bus. A passenger was stabbed then decapitated onboard the bus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. - Shocked passengers aboard a Greyhound bus in Manitoba said the attack was incomprehensible.
One moment, the quiet man near the back of the bus was minding his own business.
The man, believed to be in his 30s, hadn't talked to anyone around him, and seemed to pay no attention to the younger fellow sitting next to him, who was listening to music on headphones.
The next moment, witnesses said, the older man stood up, still quiet, and repeatedly stabbed then beheaded his seat-mate with a large hunting knife.
"We heard this blood-curdling scream and turned around, and the guy was standing up, stabbing this guy repeatedly, like 40 or 50 times," Garnet Caton said Thursday from a hotel in Brandon, Man., where he and other passengers had been taken to rest.
"There was no rage or anything. He was like a robot, stabbing the guy."
Caton said the bus stopped and everyone scrambled to get out while the attacker started methodically carving up the victim's body, not paying attention to anyone else.
Caton and the driver shut the bus door from the outside while they waited for police to arrive.
"We put our bodies up against the door, waiting for him to come out ... and he went back and brought the head to the front and pretty much displayed it ... and dropped it on the ground in front of us," Caton said.
"All very calmly. He was wearing sunglasses. It was no big deal to him."
Fellow passenger Cody Olmstead from Kentville, N.S., also recalled the chilling scene.
"The guy came to the front of the door with buddy's head in his hands, decapitated. He dropped the head and went back and started cutting the body back up," Olmstead told Brandon radio station CKLQ.
Both men said the attacker and the victim appeared not to know each other.
They said the attacker boarded the bus in Brandon Wednesday night. The victim, who Caton said appeared to be about 19, had been on the bus since Edmonton.
Police didn't confirm details, saying only that a homicide occurred on the bus, which stopped about 15 kilometres west of Portage la Prairie.
One man was taken into custody after Mounties surrounded the vehicle.
Federal Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said the full weight of the law must be brought to bear on the perpetrator.
"We want to make sure the process is followed as aggressively as possible, the full legal process ...." Day said from Levis, Que., where Conservative MPs are gathered for a summer planning session.
"This particular incident, as horrific as it is, is obviously extremely rare. Certainly the horrific nature of it is probably one-of-a-kind in Canadian history."
Greyhound called the event tragic but isolated.
A company spokeswoman said bus travel is the safest mode of transportation, despite the fact bus stations do not have metal detectors and other security measures used at airports.
"Due to the rural nature of our network, airport-type security is not practical. It's a very different type of system," Abby Wambaugh said from Greyhound's corporate offices in Texas.
The bus was carrying 37 passengers and the driver to Winnipeg from Edmonton.
A portion of the east-bound Trans-Canada Highway was closed overnight as officers remained on the scene.
Passengers were unable to understand what might have prompted the attack. The suspect had been on the bus for only about an hour and didn't even sit near his victim at first.
"He sat in the front at first, everything was normal," Caton said.
"We went to the next stop and he got off and had a smoke with another young lady there. When he got on the bus again, he came to the back near where I was sitting.
"He put his bags in the overhead compartment. He didn't say a word to anybody. He seemed totally normal. About a half an hour later, we heard this blood-curdling scream."
No doubt this is one of the most horrific stories I've ever read...very hard to believe. I ride the Greyhound buses all the time during the school year, but never again will I fall asleep on one. There's no punishment that matches what that psychopath did to that poor passenger. My prayers go out to the victim and his family.