A Winnipeg man says he survived a potentially deadly manhunt earlier this month, when he hid for hours in a swamp as a pair of complete strangers shot at him.
"John," a 23-year-old university student, was at a quarry, where he had been cutting rock for a local landscape company, as the incident unfolded in the early hours of June 14.
'I was thinking to myself, "I'm going to die."'—"John"
CBC News has agreed not to reveal John's real identity, and certain other details, due to concerns about his safety.
John said he was sleeping in a trailer at the quarry when, just before midnight, he woke up and saw two men outside in a truck, with the headlights trained on him.
"The driver told me [he] and the passenger that was with him were running meth," he said.
"Right when they told me that, I was thinking, 'There is a problem here; something bad might happen.'"
John said he told the men there was only one way out, and when the driver headed into the nearby quarry instead, he went to his trailer and got his knife and his cellphone — which didn’t have any reception.
The truck was back within moments, and the men started getting out of their truck, he said.
"As soon as he got out of his truck, he turned it off. So I knew these guys weren't going to want to leave. They wanted to do something," said John.
He said he was standing about 15 feet away when he heard a chilling story.
"[They] said on their way here they had stopped and killed a prostitute," said John.
Next, he said he heard one of the men say they should start loading their gun. When he reached into the back of his truck, John bolted into the nearby bush.
"The next thing I knew, I was being shot at. As the driver was driving his truck, he was shooting out his window. At this point, they were shooting very, very close to me," he said.
"I was thinking to myself, 'I'm going to die.'"
Hid in swamp overnight
John said for the next few hours, he hid in a swamp as the men circled around, looking for him.
"I easily had 150 mosquito bites on my back and I had ticks all over me …. Throughout the night, it got down to about 5 or 6 C, and I'm just in my shorts and T-shirt, and at that point I'm a little wet," he said.
"So I just tucked in my shirt, threw in a bunch of leaves and grass and that just to stay insulated, so that I can keep warm."
By around 6 a.m., John ran out onto the road, flagged down someone leaving a nearby mine, and made it to safety.
RCMP have charged two men with attempted murder, firearms violations and other offences in connection with the alleged incident.
John said the constable he dealt with never mentioned finding a woman’s body, so he doesn’t think the men’s claims were true.
John said he is still a bit shaken by his ordeal, but he is determined to keep working at the rock quarry.
"It opened up my eyes a little bit more to how crazy some of the people can be in this world," he said.
His boss said he's impressed by his young employee's pluck and determination.
"If a guy can survive that and still want to come back to work, you know, he's dedicated," he said.