POLICE charged a suspect today with unpremeditated murder in the horrific stabbing, beheading and gutting of a fellow bus passenger returning home from a carnival in Western Canada.
Vince Weiguang Li, 40, of Edmonton faces a charge of second-degree murder, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.
The victim was 22 years old, police said. Friends identified him as Tim McLean, a happy-go-lucky young man who was returning home to Winnipeg from a job as a carnival worker in Edmonton.
According to reports, McLean had been listening to music and texting friends and family, his cheek pressed against the window of the bus, when his assailant struck suddenly, stabbing him repeatedly in the chest with a “big Rambo knife”.
The other 34 passengers and the driver were jolted by “blood-curdling screams” and fled, bracing the door on their way out to trap the assailant inside the bus, witness Garnet Caton told public broadcaster CBC.
“He must have stabbed him 50 times or 60 times,” said Caton.
The Legend of Zorro had been playing on tiny television screens on the bus as dusk approached and passengers had begun to doze off.
The victim’s father told CBC he had received a text message from his son as the bus was leaving Brandon for the last leg of his 600km journey, asking if he could stay a night.
Tim McLean Senior replied, of course, he could come home.
The suspect, described as a large man wearing sunglasses, had been on the bus for only an hour and did not sit near McLean at first, said Caton.
During a stop, the suspect smoked a cigarette and then moved to the back of the bus to find an empty seat next to McLean, stowing his bags in an overhead bin, he said.
Half an hour later, he struck.
The bus driver, hearing screams, pulled to the side of the road and opened the door.
Passengers scrambled over one another, according to witnesses cited by the Globe and Mail newspaper. An elderly woman was knocked to the floor. A mother seated at the rear threw her toddler several rows forward to get the child away from danger.
When Caton and two others returned to check on the victim, he said they saw the attacker “cutting the guy’s head off and gutting him”.
“While we were watching … he calmly walked up to the front (of the bus) with the head in his hand and the knife and just calmly stared at us and dropped the head right in front of us.”
“There was no rage in him and he wasn’t swearing or cursing or anything, it was just like he was a robot or something.”
Moments later, police surrounded the bus and arrested the man after a nearly three-hour standoff, an official said. “He was taunting police with the head in his hand out the window,” said Caton.
The suspect eventually jumped out of a broken window of the bus parked on the side of the desolate highway, and was subdued by police, RCMP Sergeant Steve Colwell told a press conference.
“At this time, I’m not aware of what may have provoked this attack,” Colwell said, refusing to comment on eyewitness accounts of the attack, which occured on a Greyhound bus traveling east from Edmonton to Winnipeg.
“I can confirm the victim was stabbed, and that the victim was pronounced dead at the scene,” he said.
Overnight, a Facebook website called “R.I.P. Tim” sprang up after news of his death.
“This is one of the most horrific crimes I have ever heard in my life,” said one posting.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” wrote Leah Dryburgh of Winnipeg. “Tim, you were the best guy ever. You didn’t deserve this at all.”
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day called the attack “horrific”.
Article written by Michel Comte in Ottawa – published in the Herald Sun online August 02, 2008 03:21am