Manitoba

Despite getting stabbed, man who came to defence of fellow passenger has no regrets

Police have a man in custody after a man was stabbed on a Winnipeg Transit bus early Sunday.

Jonathan Meikle and Matthew Brian Shorting were trying to stop suspect who was menacing man on bus

Jonathan Meikle, left, and Matthew Brian Shorting, right, intervened on what they believe would have been an attack on another bus passenger.

A man who was stabbed on a Winnipeg Transit bus Sunday says stepping in to prevent another passenger from being attacked "was just the right thing to do."

Around midnight Sunday Jonathan Meikle and Matthew Brian Shorting were on a bus at Graham Avenue and Donald Street when a man got on and began yelling racial slurs and threats.

Police spokesperson Jay Murray said that person, a 23-year-old man, threatened to stab another passenger, who then tried to leave the bus to get to safety. At that time, the suspect pulled a bandana over his face and started to follow the person off the bus.

That's when Meikle and Shorting, two off-duty Bear Clan volunteers, stepped in.

Meikle, an Afghanistan veteran, kicked the man, then he and Shorting pulled him off the bus.

"I was in a grappling match, and in my mind I was full-on in survival instincts," said Meikle.

"He's a threat to my life, he's a threat to my best friend right beside me, he's a threat to everyone around him. And even if he gets free without the knife he's still a threat." he said.

Shorting said they were able to get the knife away from the man, and they managed to hold him down until police arrived.

Meikle realized he'd been stabbed in the leg, an injury that required eight surgical staples.

Related to earlier robbery

Murray said a short time earlier, the suspect had also used the knife to rob another man of his cell phone and wallet while he waited for a bus near Graham Avenue and Edmonton Street.

"At one point he produced a knife, held it to the victim's throat and asked for his property," Murray said.  

A 23-year-old man from Winnipeg is charged with robbery, uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon, said police spokesperson Jay Murray.

In situations like this, Murray said Winnipeg police generally advise people to put themselves in a position of safety and call police. But he acknowledged that isn't always possible.

"It can be incredibly difficult to be in a situation like this," he said.

"These two gentlemen probably had an idea that this person was going to get hurt unless they stepped up ... and that's exactly what they did."

A 23-year-old man from Winnipeg is charged with robbery, uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon. Police have the man in custody.   

Police say alcohol was a factor.

'Underlying issues'

Despite the altercation, Meikle and Shorting both say they feel bad for the man.

"I can't imagine the things he went through to get to where he is at — to want to threaten the public," Shorting said.

Meikle said he has his own dark past, and recently celebrated one year of sobriety.

"This is just one example of the way my life is shifting for the better, I was able to do what was right," he said.

"We as a society should look at more the underlying issues here. With addiction and poverty and how this created this whole entire event," Meikle said.

With files from Erin Brohman

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A man who was stabbed on a Winnipeg Transit bus Sunday says stepping in to prevent another passenger from being attacked "was just the right thing to do." 2:31