'A white light went off in my head'—Sudbury man saves woman and baby from random knife attack

Brent Holder was sitting in his truck in a parking lot checking in his email, when he heard a woman "screaming for her life."

Woman who was stabbed in random knife attack still in hospital in stable condition

Brent Holder saved a woman and her baby from a random knife attack in the parking lot of Michael's in New Sudbury in June 2019. (Erik White/CBC )

Brent Holder went to Michael's on a Monday afternoon to buy silicone candy moulds.

The specialty metal salesman with ASA alloys was picking them up for one of his clients, as an anniversary present for his wife.

The 53-year-old was sitting in his truck, checking his email when he heard a woman screaming.

"I don't know if you've ever heard someone screaming for their life before, but it's absolutely horrific," says Holder.

He looked over his shoulder and he could see a man standing at the back of a parked car "swinging and flailing."

And then the man started punching into a baby stroller. 

"At that point, a white light went off in my head," Holder remembers.

"I had no longer any thought process whatsoever, I was just out of my truck and ran straight at the guy, screaming at him."

Sudbury man saves woman and baby from random knife attack

4 years ago
Duration 1:53
Sudbury man saves woman and baby from random knife attack

Holder says the man, who he could now see was holding a knife, started to back away.

"I kept going straight toward him, he kept backing up and we both had our eyes locked," he says.

"He didn't say a single thing."

The man backed up some 30 feet across the parking lot. 

Holder could hear the baby crying.

Then the man, pulled out a second knife, got down on his knees, put both blades to his throat and slashed.

Holder says when the man fell face forward, he grabbed both knives and called 911. 

Police arrived and handcuffed the man and took him away.

Holder went to the police station to give a statement and never did get a chance to check on the woman and her child.

Sudbury police say the woman remains in stable condition in the hospital. 

The stroller and vehicle belonging to the woman who was the target of the random knife attack in New Sudbury on June 3. (Yvon Theriault/ Radio-Canada CBC)

Holder called his wife to say what had happened and then headed home for dinner.

"My wonderful wife had a beautiful barbecue dinner ready for me," he says.

"She's incredibly proud of me."

Holder, who travels northern Ontario highways and has been the first person on the scene at car accidents before, says  "the whole scene plays and re-plays through my mind's eye."

Sudbury police have charged 25-year-old Alexander Stavropolous with attempted murder, two counts of possessing dangerous weapons and breach of probation.

He was convicted last year of a similar random knife attack at the downtown Sudbury transit terminal.

"It made more sense of the situation," Holder says when he heard who the police had charged. 

Stavropolous is still in police custody and makes his next court appearance on June 13. 


Erik White


Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to


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