Mother describes brutal assault by group of boys at Saskatoon's Pleasant Hill Park

Bonnie Halcrow says she's still flashing back to a brutal assault Monday night that left her bruised and scared.

Bonnie Halcrow shaken by attack that happened in front of her 10-year-old daughter

The attack left Bonnie Halcrow bruised and shaken. (Dan Zakreski/CBC)

Bonnie Halcrow says it started with a group of young boys throwing sticks and rocks at an old man.

The 33-year-old mother, who lives in Flin Flon, Man., but was visiting Saskatoon, had taken her 10-year-old daughter to play with a friend at Pleasant Hill Park. It was around 7 p.m. CST on Monday and the playground in the core neighbourhood was bustling.

That's when Halcrow watched the boys group up and target an old man pushing a fridge on a trolley across the park. They began swearing at him, and throwing sticks and stones.

"I said, 'Quit doing that and leave him alone,' and I proceeded to video record the kids involved and I said that I was going to report that to the cops," she said in an interview.

"Kids grabbed my cellphone from me and I wrestled him and I grabbed my cellphone but soon as I was down on the ground, they all started swarming me," she said.

"I couldn't feel any of the punches or kicks because my adrenaline kicked in, and I couldn't fight kids. It just isn't me to fight kids, so I just did the best I could."

Halcrow said she was terrified for her daughter's safety as the attack unfolded. She said she was eventually able to get to her feet and out of the park.

Halcrow came out of the assault with bruises to her back, arms and legs, and with her confidence shaken. She's reported the incident to police and they confirm that they are investigating, with an eyewitness having filmed the attack. 

A neighbourhood concern

Lou and Carolyn Rogers live across the street from the park. They watched the assault unfold.

"We were sitting in the front room on the couch and we saw these kids gathering up, and once we saw them gather up, we said, 'Trouble.' And sure as hell, the trouble began," Louis said.

Carolyn estimates a group of about 20 kids have been responsible for at least three recent incidents in the park. Police confirmed that they're investigating these other complaints.

Carolyn and Lou Rogers saw the attack unfold. (CBC)
"We are also currently looking into a small number of other incidents, involving a group of young people in the area," said Julie Clark with the Saskatoon Police Service.

Carolyn Rogers says she's worked with poverty awareness groups in the neighbourhood.

"It comes back to, what do we do to help the parents raise their kids properly? If they're both working and they're too tired when they come home, do we have places for the kids to go where they're taught right from wrong? Because the parents aren't doing it," she said.

"Somebody has to look after these kids. They're not growing up like this by choice."


Dan Zakreski is a reporter for CBC Saskatoon.