A 40-year-old man who witnesses said stabbed and beheaded the man sitting next to him on a Greyhound bus in Canada has been charged with second-degree murder, police said Friday.
Vince Weiguang Li, of Edmonton, Alberta, was due to appear in court later Friday, said Sgt. Brian Edmonds.
Authorities have not released the victim’s name but The Canadian Press said friends had identified him as Tim McLean, a 22-year-old carnival worker.
William Caron, 23, said McLean was quiet, though he liked to socialize with friends. He was small – about 5-foot-4 and 130 pounds – and tended stayed away from a fight, Caron said.
“From what I hear, this other guy is three times his size,” Caron said. “All the time I’ve known Tim, he’s never been the type of guy to get into a fight with. He always kept to himself when there’s strangers around.”
Witnesses said the victim was stabbed dozens of times in the Wednesday night attack aboard the bus as it traveled a desolate stretch of the TransCanada Highway about 12 miles from Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.
They said the attacker then severed his seat mate’s head, displayed it and then began cutting up the body.
Garnet Caton, who was sitting just one seat in front of them, said the suspect had been on the bus about an hour. He initially did not sit near the victim but changed seats after a rest stop. Caton said he did not hear the two speak to each other before the attack.
“We heard this bloodcurdling scream and turned around, and the guy was standing up, stabbing this guy repeatedly,” Caton said.
Caton said the driver stopped the bus when he became aware of the attack and passengers raced off. A short while later, Caton said he re-boarded along with the bus driver and a trucker who had stopped to see what was happening.
He said the suspect had the victim on the floor of the bus and “was cutting his head off” with a large hunting knife.
“When he was attacking him, he was calm,” said Caton. “There was no rage or anything. He was just like a robot stabbing the guy.”
The attacker turned toward them and the three men quickly left the bus, blocking the door as the attacker slashed at them through an opening. Caton said the driver disabled the vehicle after the attacker tried to drive it away.
As the three guarded the door with a crow bar and a hammer, the attacker went back to the body and calmly came to the front of the bus to show off the head, Caton said.
Greyhound spokeswoman Abby Wambaugh said there had been 37 passengers aboard, many watching a movie when the violence erupted. She called the attack tragic but isolated.
* Thanks to YouTube for providing witness video.
The follow-up story can be read here