British Columbia

'What's happening to our town?': Penticton man in coma after alleged assault on beach

A violent assault at a Penticton beach on Friday evening sent one man to hospital with a serious head injury. A second man is in custody facing a number of criminal charges, including aggravated assault and sexual assault.

Thomas Kruger-Allen, 21, is charged with aggravated assault and sexual assault, among other charges

Chelsea Townend is staying by her husband Bradley Eliason's side in Kelowna General Hospital after he underwent brain surgery following an alleged assault at a Penticton beach. (Chelsea Townend)

A violent assault at a Penticton beach on Friday evening sent one man to hospital with a serious head injury.

A second man is in custody facing a number of criminal charges, including aggravated assault and sexual assault.

Doctors have placed 28-year-old Bradley Eliason in a medically-induced coma because of swelling on his brain, according to his wife Chelsea Townend.

"They are just keeping him sedated until the brain heals," said Townend.

"Right now [I'm feeling] fear — fear of the unknown. We are hoping and praying that he can come out of this."

Eliason was having a bonfire with friends at one of Penticton's beach fire pits Friday night when the alleged assault happened, according to Townend.

Two unknown men approached the group and started pestering some of the young people at the bonfire. 

Townend said one man allegedly tried to remove a girl's shirt and that is when her husband and his friend intervened.

The men got into an altercation and eventually moved onto a sidewalk near the beach on Lakeshore Drive, according to Townend. That is where the man allegedly punched Eliason, causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head on the pavement.

Bradley Eliason is in serious condition in Kelowna General Hospital after he was allegedly punched when he stepped in to stop an assault on a young woman at a beach party on Friday. (Chelsea Townend)

Eliason was rushed to the hospital and later transferred to Kelowna General Hospital where he underwent brain surgery.

"We are hoping that he can come out of this unscathed and somewhat back to his normal self," Townend said.

Alleged attacker facing multiple charges

A 21-year-old man, Thomas Kruger-Allen, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, sexual assault and two counts of common assault, according to RCMP Staff Sergent Bob Vatamaniuck.

"This is an unfortunate event that has impacted many lives," said Vatamaniuck. 

Vatamaniuck asked anyone who witnessed the altercation and hasn't yet spoken to police to contact the Penticton RCMP.

Townend is staying by her husband's side in hospital, waiting for doctors to bring him out of his coma to see how he responds to the surgery.

Meanwhile she's wondering about incidents of violence and crime in Penticton that she says have shot up over the past few years.

"What's happening to our town? It's getting out of control," Townend said.

"It's pretty bad that you can't have a bonfire at the beach without being assaulted."

About the Author

Brady Strachan

CBC Reporter

Brady Strachan is a CBC reporter based in Kelowna, B.C. Besides Kelowna, Strachan has covered stories for CBC News in Winnipeg, Brandon, Vancouver and internationally. Follow his tweets @BradyStrachan