This happened just a bit outside the city I live in, apparently making world-wide headlines:
A 40-year-old man is expected to be formally charged today after allegedly repeatedly stabbing, decapitating and then trying to eat parts of a young man who was sleeping next to him as they rode in the back of a Greyhound bus together. The young man has been identified in media reports as Tim Mclean.
Thirty-four passengers watched in complete and total horror as the unprovoked attack unfolded in front of them as the bus rolled along the Trans-Canada Highway near Portage la Prairie about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The suspect connected to a homcide on a Greyhound bus briefly sits in the driver's seat of the bus while police try to talk to him last night. The investigation into the stabbing and decapitation of a passenger on the bus continues this morning. Details will be posted on our site as they are confirmed. (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press )
Witnesses said the attacker, who police believe is not from Manitoba, also waved the man's severed head around after cutting it from his body.
"He (the victim) didn't do anything to provoke the guy," said passenger Garnet Caton, 26. "The guy just took a knife out and stabbed him, started stabbing him like crazy and cut his head off. There was no rage or anything. He was like a robot, stabbing the guy."
Caton said the attacker was only on the bus for a brief period of time, after boarding in western Manitoba.
Police have not identified the victim, who was reported by passengers to be an aboriginal male in his late teens or early 20s. Witnesses said the young man had boarded the bus in Edmonton.
His name will not be released until next-of-kin have been notified, police said.
RCMP investigate a stabbing and beheading that occurred on board a Greyhound bus, 18 km west of Portage la Prairie Wednesday night. (Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press )
The bus made an emergency stop on the side of the road and people on-board fled from the coach in terror into the darkening night. The incident took place about 20 kilometres west of Portage la Prairie.
In a heroic attempt to prevent further injuries, the bus driver and passengers thwarted the man's attempts to leave the blood-soaked bus by threatening him with a hammer and a metal bar.
The bus driver locked the suspect in the bus after he and all other passengers had escaped. The driver then disabled the bus after the suspect made an attempt to move the vehicle.
The shocked passengers looked on through the vehicle's windows as the man calmly walked up to the front of the bus and dropped the victim's head.
"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.
RCMP officers from the Portage detachment flooded the immediate area and made attempts to coax the man off the bus and surrender peacefully, but he resisted their efforts.
A police source indicated that after the Mounties responded to the grisly roadside scene, the suspect -- described as six feet tall and weighing about 200 pounds -- roamed the bus from front to back, armed with a pair of scissors and a knife.
The source said the man was witnessed hacking at the victim's body and was seen to consume some of the victim's flesh.
The RCMP emergency response team and a negotiator were brought in and a tense hours-long standoff with the suspect ensued.
At 1:28 a.m., police said, the suspect attempted to jump out of the bus through a broken window, but he was subdued and arrested without further incident.
RCMP were tight-lipped Thursday about the slaying, and would not confirm the decapitation or allegations the suspect tried to consume parts of the victim.
According to Staff Sgt. Steve Colwell, the 40-year-old suspect had yet to be interviewed at 2 p.m. Thursday. Colwell couldn't say why.
"He is in custody and we will be attempting to speak with him," Colwell said. Police would not say how many times the victim had been stabbed, nor if the suspect had sustained any self-inflicted injury in the incident. Colwell also couldn't say if the suspect would be given a psychological evaluation.
Given the extreme nature of his alleged offence, police have likely placed the 40-year-old suspect on continuous video surveillance while he's in their custody. It's believed he was taken to Brandon to be interviewed.
Colwell didn't deny that what the passengers witnessed was gruesome.
"What (they) saw and... experienced would shake the most seasoned police officers," Colwell said Thursday. He credited them for acting "swiftly, calmly and with bravery."
Each of the passengers provided RCMP with a statement before being shuttled off to a Brandon hotel in a school bus.
They were greeted by the Brandon Regional Health Authority's crisis team to help them cope with the trauma.
"We were taken care of really well... they shuttled people back and forth to the gas station and brought us tons of Subway," said Martha Beach-Yeo. "It was really nice to have people waiting there for us."
Despite her fatigue, Beach-Yeo said she was only able to sleep for about three hours. She said most of the passengers stayed up, played cards and recounted the evening's horror.
The next morning, the passengers were taken to Wal-Mart to buy clothes and toiletries.
She said Greyhound paid for everything. "They are trying to get our baggage as soon as possible."
Later in the afternoon, the passengers bound for Winnipeg were loaded onto a new bus. Others chose to fly to their destinations. The group arrived in Winnipeg shortly before 4 p.m. and, again, a crisis management team was on hand for counselling.
The incident was described by Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day as "probably one of a kind in Canadian history."
RCMP said more information on the ongoing investigation and any information about criminal charges would most likely come today.
EDIT: Thanks for the title update 8D