Bus slaying victim made 'ultimate sacrifice' by fighting attacker: N.W.T. passenger

A witness to the gruesome stabbing of a Winnipeg man aboard a Greyhound bus said a final struggle between the victim and his attacker might have saved the lives of other passengers.

A witness to the gruesome stabbing of a Winnipeg man aboard a Greyhound bus said a final struggle between the victim and his attacker may have saved the lives of other passengers.

Stephen Allison of Fort Smith, N.W.T., said he and his wife, Isabelle, were sitting in a row across the aisle from Tim McLean, 22, and his alleged attacker, Vincent Weiguang Li, 40, on the Greyhound bus travelling from Edmonton to Winnipeg on the evening of July 30.

Tim McLean, shown in a photo taken from his MySpace page, struggled to escape his attacker and 'was at one point fighting back,' according to witness Stephen Allison.
McLean was stabbed to death, then beheaded, in the incident. Li, of Edmonton, is charged with second-degree murder, and has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment.

Early witness accounts of the attack suggested that McLean was asleep with his headphones on when the attack began and didn't have a chance to put up much of a struggle before being killed.

But Allison said McLean fought for his life, struggling with Li in the aisle of the bus.

"Tim actually tried to get away," he told CBC News from Winnipeg, in an interview that ran Tuesday.

"He jumped over Mr. Li, and was at one point fighting back."

The 35 remaining passengers and the driver escaped from the bus. Li was arrested by the RCMP following a standoff lasting several hours.

Allison said McLean's final struggle made all the difference to him, his wife and the other passengers.

"If it wasn't for him, there could have been a lot more of us that never got off that bus," he said.

"He made the ultimate sacrifice so that everyone else could get off and everyone else could live."

The Allisons were travelling by bus from Fort Smith to visit family in Kenora, Ont., and to go to school in Winnipeg.

Stephen Allison said memories of the stabbing now keep them awake at night. He particularly recalls making eye contact with Li just moments before the incident began.

"Right when he pulled out the knife, he had looked at me first before leaning over to stab Tim," he said.

"So in that second, I thought, this is the end for me."

Allison said he has been in touch with some of the other passengers on the bus, as part of an effort to support each other and trying to cope with the horrific scene they witnessed that night.