Winnipeg Transit drivers raising funds after colleague killed in on-the-job attack

After the death of a fellow Winnipeg Transit driver, bus drivers are raising money to support their colleague's family.

'We are all a big family here,' says colleague of Irvine J. Fraser

Winnipeg police at the scene of Tuesday's stabbing on the University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus that left a Winnipeg Transit driver dead. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

After a Winnipeg Transit driver was stabbed to death, fellow bus drivers are raising money to support their colleague's family.

Transit driver Robert Precourt, who has been behind the wheel for eight years, said Tuesday's vicious attack has shaken the bus-driving community.

"We are all in the same boat. We all do the exact same type of work, so that could have been any one of us," he said.

"We are all a big family here, so we have to take care of each other."

Irvine Fraser, 58, died after he was attacked on Tuesday. (Facebook)
Irvine J. Fraser, 58, was attacked at the University of Manitoba campus early Tuesday morning. He died after being taken to hospital, Winnipeg police said.

Witnesses helped direct police officers to a man who was arrested on the nearby frozen Red River. The 22-year-old remains in police custody. No charges have been laid at this time.

"A lot of people were talking about what happened. It was a shock to all of us," Precourt said.

After speaking with some of the other drivers, Precourt has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help Fraser's family.

"We figured that roughly there are 1,000 drivers," he said.

"We figured if each driver donated $10 each, that would roughly be like $10,000."

Some Winnipeg Transit drivers have spoken out following Fraser's death, saying they no longer feel safe behind the wheel.

The Canadian flag outside Winnipeg Transit's headquarters hung at half-mast Tuesday. (Trevor Brine/CBC)
Precourt said he's never experienced violence while driving a transit bus, but he doesn't want to live in fear.

"You always think you are safe in your job, you are safe in your employment and, you know, something like this happens," he said.

"I am sure a lot of drivers were driving [Tuesday] and checking their rear view mirror a lot more often."

Precourt had to take to the city's streets and drive his route after the attack on Tuesday, but said support from riders helped him continue on.

"I had lots of people that came on today that said, 'Stay safe' and, 'Thank you for what you do.' Even that means something," he said.

A separate GoFundMe page has been created by a University of Manitoba student. Taylor Nimchonok said taking public transit to and from campus is part of the daily routine for many university students, and Fraser was an important part of that community.

"I was just devastated. I thought it was incredibly unfair, a huge injustice was done," Nimchonok said.

The money from that fundraising page will also be donated to Fraser's family.