The baby was screaming, bleeding from stab wounds and for 45 minutes, Trina Weber held her in her arms.
The little girl had thick, curly hair and it was hard to tell where her wounds were.
Weber was just outside her home in a quiet central Hamilton neighbourhood on Tuesday afternoon. Her yellow shirt was quickly covered in blood.
The baby's mother, also bleeding from stab wounds, and being tended by others across the road, was yelling to her to take the baby and "run and hide." But Weber's instinct was to stay put where the mother could see her baby.
Nearby, neighbour Ben Washington was trying to make sure there was no need to run. He was standing over and guarding a man they all had come to believe had wielded the knife against the pair.
"I'm this far away from him," Washington motions a short distance, a hand-length. He kept his eyes fixed on the man and had one thought on his mind.
"And all I knew is you're not getting to the victims."
Bringing towels and courage
Weber and Washington are just two of about a dozen residents of Eastbourne Avenue who selflessly helped the wounded strangers - calling 911, bringing first aid kits, towels— and courage—while the horrific scene unfolded at their doorsteps Tuesday afternoon.
Their street was the final crime scene of a quadruple stabbing that left an 18-year-old mother, her 18-month-old daughter and a Good Samaritan bleeding with stab wounds.
'I yelled at him 'Let her go' and he did...And it was me and him.' —Ben Washington
Hamilton Police arrested and charged a 37-year-old man with attempted murder and assault. The accused man also sustained stab wounds.
In a press release Wednesday, police said the actions of neighbours and the van driver "saved the lives" of mother and daughter.
The incident started at a red-brick home on Holton Avenue South, at the base of the escarpment, and ended over 200 metres and several turns away on Eastbourne Avenue. The attack on the pair began at the home on Holton and they tried to flee. Somewhere between the two locations, a man, blonde, well-dressed, in his 30s driving a blue passenger van, picked up the mother and her child. But the alleged perpetrator also jumped in.
The driver turned the van north onto Eastbourne. It's not known exactly what happened in the van, but the driver, now suffering stab wounds himself, jumped out of the van as it rolled down Eastbourne.
Weber, a mother of a three-year-old and a two-month-old son, stepped out her front door around 4 p.m. when she heard screaming. What she saw was the van drifting by her house, side door open, and inside, blood-drenched seats and mother, baby and a man tangled in a fighting ball, she said.
"She screamed, 'take the baby, take the baby!" Weber said. "I grabbed the baby... then a lot happened I wasn't focused on."
Washington was a few doors down, on a neighbour's porch with a clear view of the street, he said, when the screaming started.
"It sounded more intense and it became a man's voice screaming," he said. He soon realized it was the driver he was hearing, who had jumped from the van at the south end of Eastbourne, and quickly ran up the street
That Good Samaritan had stab wounds on his arms , and other neighbours jumped in to wrap his wounds. Washington' s attention was then drawn to shouts from other neighbours, directing him to the second man, who was now also out of the van and still grappling with the mother.
While neighbours "triaged" the baby and driver, Washington saw the knife on the corner of the lawn behind him, the man with a grip on the mother's right side.
"I yelled at him 'Let her go' and he did," he said. "And it was me and him."
The man collapsed on the road. Washington said he was fixed on him, speaking to him calmly, until the cops snapped cuffs on his hands.
"The fight was drained out of him," Weber said.
Marie Levasseur, who was by then assisting, holding towels to the bleeding baby, said the mother was trying to make a call on her phone.
"The woman—girl actually—she's just a kid," she said of the young mother. "She was trying to call her mom. She's bleeding from stab wounds and trying to call her mom."
According to neighbours, it took EMS about 15 to 20 minutes to arrive on scene. When a paramedic did arrive, she told Weber to keep holding the baby and the women with the mother to keep holding on to her. The driver of the van had already been wrapped up by neighbours. The paramedic had to attend to the bloody man first - he was in the worst condition, Weber said.
A close knit street
Days after the dramatic events, the nearly dozen neighbours who stepped up to act are thinking that the support they are willing to give doesn't end there.
"The greater challenge for the neighbourhood is how to we be there for those people after the fact, that's the question I'm left with," said Levasseur.
Washington says the amazing reaction he was part of would not have happened on just any block or street.
"If he (the van driver) had turned to the right, this would not have ended that way. If he had not stopped, this would not have ended that way. If he had driven straight down Cumberland, it would not have ended this way," he said. "It was extraordinarily serendipitous that he actually turned to the left."
Days after the stabbing, Weber said her arms still ache from holding the baby - "she is a healthy little girl," she said.
As Weber sits on her front porch, her two-and-half month old son in a rocker at her side, she gently grabs his feet.
"Look at them," she said. "It's hard to imagine anyone would...."
Her voice trails off. "I'm glad the girl is going to be ok."
But the message the community on this block of Eastbourne Avenue wants to send out to the city is: Get to know who lives on your street. These families know each other, their kids play together outside, they spend afternoons chatting on front porches, Weber said.
"This is what happens when you know your neighbour's name, and keep an eye ball on your street," Levasseur said.
""The response of the neighbours with absolutely no concern for self-preservation, jumping in actively to save these two people with no foresight, people just did what they had to do and they did it well," Washington said. "It was a truly remarkable thing to see, unbelievable."