Montreal bus rider recounts being attacked with hammer
WARNING: Graphic content
Jorge Reynaud says he can't forget the look in his attacker's eyes.
Reynaud was sitting alone at the back of a crowded 356 night bus heading toward the West Island at around 4 a.m. Sunday when he noticed a young man staring at him.
The man glared at Reynaud for a full 10 minutes, staring at him directly in the eyes.
Reynaud, an architecture student at the University of Montreal, said the man eventually moved closer, never taking his eyes off him. He then reached into his jacket and exposed the head of a hammer.
I feared the worst. I really felt my life was on the line, so I had to do something… I used fear to fuel my survival.- Jorge Reynaud
"When I noticed that I really started fearing for my life," Reynaud said.
"He showed it to me, deliberately."
Reynaud said he tried to talk to the man in a bid to ease the tension, but it only made matters worse.
"I said, 'listen – I mean no trouble.' I told him as slowly and as calmly as I could, but he took advantage of it," Reynaud said.
"Right away he says, 'Shut the eff up. Give me the cash. You've got three seconds. I'm going to count to three.'"
'He hit me with all his force'
Reynaud said the man got up and stood over him with the hammer out and began to count.
"He hit me with all his force," he said.
"I feared the worst. I really felt my life was on the line, so I had to do something… I used fear to fuel my survival."
Reynaud stood and pushed his attacker and started throwing punches at him.
The driver stopped the bus and the assailant and his friends fled.
A police dog team tracked down suspects shortly after the attack on Reynaud, and two are now facing charges.
'Nobody did anything'
Reynaud said none of the 20 or so other passengers on the bus at the time tried to intervene.
"Nobody did anything. People were very supportive afterwards, but it's like everybody was in such a state of shock that it took a long time for them to react," he said.
Reynaud said the driver only called 911 after he asked him to.
"I was heavily bleeding, it was a hemorrhage – luckily it was an external hemorrhage, or it would have been much worse," he said.
He was also critical of Montreal's public transit authority, the STM, saying he was told by the driver that the camera on the bus wasn't working at the time.
"I'm really shocked when it comes to STM readiness when faced with emergency or critical situations, when it comes to our safety as citizens and public transportation users. What's going on?" he said.
The STM said all night buses are equipped with cameras and the camera on the bus carrying Reynaud was working.
It also said all drivers take part in a training program called Sécuribus, which trains them to defuse conflicts before they escalate into violence.
The bus drivers' union, the Syndicat des chauffeurs d'autobus de la STM, declined to comment on the cameras, citing safety issues.
Roger Houle,19, faces charges of armed robbery, assault with a weapon and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Houle is scheduled to appear in court on March 22.
A 17-year-old youth faces charges of extortion, armed robbery and possession of a weapon for dangerous purpose.
He is expected to appear in court today.