British Columbia

2 UBC students rescue a young woman from attacker in her dorm room

Eighteen-year-olds Adam Casey and Luca Berg are credited with likely saving the life of a young woman who was attacked in her dorm room at UBC's Salish House just before noon on Tuesday.

The pair of young men ran to help in response to women yelling 'he's choking her'

Adam Casey and Luca Berg (left) were the first to get to a dorm room at UBC's Salish House and free a young woman being choked by a man. (Belle Puri )

Eighteen-year-olds Adam Casey and Luca Berg are credited with likely saving the life of a young woman who was attacked in her dorm room at UBC's Salish House just before noon on Tuesday.   

Casey, who is an engineering student from Edmonton, was on his way to collect his mail. 

"A couple of girls ran into the building and said someone was being choked on the third floor," said Casey.

In an exclusive interview with CBC, Casey said he asked them if they had called 911 and then he went upstairs.  

The directions weren't very good. He went the wrong way twice. 

"When I got there, there was a girl and a man. And the man was choking her," said Casey. 

The victim and the attacker were both on the floor. Casey said the woman was in no state to be able to yell. 

"I tried to get his hands off her neck that he was holding pretty tight, so I resorted to actually going after him," said Casey. 

"He was pretty determined. He wasn't letting go easily." 

Casey says he has been practising martial arts for the past five years. Eventually, he was able to get one of the assailant's hands free of the woman's neck. 

Others come to help 

Luca Berg also ran into some distraught women in the dorm hallway while he was on his way to lunch. The arts student from Hawaii rushed to the room where the attack was taking place.

He found Casey attempting to disable the suspect. 

"I just go for his [the assailant's] legs which were around her neck and take them off. And, then she got out of the room and by that point she was safe," said Berg. 

Berg and Casey held the suspect until RCMP arrived at the scene. Casey said he didn't see the suspect with a weapon, but later there was a knife on the ground.  

UBC student Thamer Hameed Almestadi, 18, also a resident at Salish House, has now been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

The victim remains in hospital with what police say are non-life threatening injuries. Police have also said there is no continuing risk to to students.

Don't feel like heroes 

Both men said they've never encountered a situation like this before in their lives. 

"It still really hasn't sunk in what happened. It was adrenalin. I did what I had to do, felt right to do," said Berg. 

"I honestly think that anyone would have done it." 

Berg and Casey are grateful to others in the dorm who came together to help someone in trouble. The incident hasn't made them feel different about life at UBC. 

"There are 8,000 first years at this school. And, the school has been here for decades. Things happen when you have a lot of people together," said Casey. 

Berg said it was a shocking situation, but he's still comfortable at UBC. 

"It doesn't change my view of UBC in any way. I still have full trust in the school," said Berg. 

"I think this was just one case of a deranged guy. There must have been something wrong with him." 

As the pair headed to their next class, Casey commented, "I still haven't picked up my mail."  

About the Author

Belle Puri

Reporter

Belle Puri is a veteran journalist who has won awards for her reporting in a variety of fields.