By Allie Smyth
EDMONTON–A first-year University of Alberta student was beaten and then stabbed repeatedly while he studied in the crowded Cameron Library, a popular study area at the U of A.
The 18-year-old student was attacked by three people the afternoon of Tue., Mar. 9 on the second floor of the library. The attack left him bleeding from numerous serious puncture wounds, including deep cuts to his throat and torso.
Witnesses reported seeing three men on the second floor of the library, going from cubicle to cubicle apparently looking for somebody. When they discovered the victim in a study carrel they attacked him, first beating him with small clubs before one suspect stabbed him with what was described as a long knife.
Edmonton Police Service Public Information Officer Wes Bellmore confirmed the assault, but wanted to clarify there is little need for panic.
“The way the attack was described to us strongly suggests that this was a targeted attack specific to this person,” said Bellmore. “Students going about their daily routines likely don’t need to be alarmed by this.”
Remarkably, the victim was able to make his way to Health Services in the Students’ Union Building, where he was treated and subsequently transported to hospital by EMS in critical condition.
Tyler Daignault, a psychology student, encountered the victim as he was entering SUB, quickly determined the urgency of the situation and asked if he was okay.
“The amount of blood on him was immense,” said Daignault, who later described the victim as being blood-soaked. “I was shocked someone who was so injured was able to get himself where he needed to go. Judging from his wounds he knew he wasn’t going to make it to the hospital. Time was not on his side. ”
Arts student Natalie Hanninen was pretty surprised to learn of the attack but she still thinks campus is safe.
However, not all students felt the same way yesterday.
“It personally freaks me out,” said forestry student Kendra Onusko. “I find it very disturbing that this would happen in what you would expect to be a peaceful and secure area.
“I’m not feeling safe right now.”
U of A Vice-Provost Gretchen Hess appealed to the university community to stay calm, stressing that this incident “was a very rare an unfortunate occurrence, an isolated incident.”
Director of Campus Security Bill Mowbray agreed.
“This was not a random attack and as such does not indicate a change in the level of safety on campus,” Mowbray said, adding there appeared to be a connection bet- ween all of the individuals involved. “This violence is not university related and deals with activities outside the university community that are largely beyond our control.”
The victim remains in hospital with serious injuries but is expected to recover. The three suspects are still at large and police have not yet released any descriptions.