Thunder Bay

Solidarity walk planned for woman injured by trailer hitch thrown from car in Thunder Bay, Ont.

A group of students in Thunder Bay, Ont., are organizing a walk on Sunday night to show solidarity and love for a 34-year-old First Nations woman who remains in hospital after being struck by a trailer hitch thrown from a moving car last weekend.

Melissa Kentner says the drive-by assault on her sister Barbara was attempted murder

Melissa Kentner says this trailer hitch was thrown at her sister from a moving car while she was walking down the street in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Melissa Kentner/Facebook)

A group of students in Thunder Bay, Ont., are organizing a walk on Sunday night to show solidarity and love for a First Nations woman who remains in hospital after being struck by a trailer hitch thrown from a moving car last weekend.

Barbara Kentner, 34, required surgery after being hit in the stomach by the trailer hitch shortly after 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, according to Kentner's sister, Melissa Kentner, who witnessed the incident.

Police are calling it an assault with a weapon, but Melissa Kentner said she believes it was an attempted murder and a hate crime.

"A lot of [Indigenous] people get hit with water bottles or eggs, but I could have lost my sister," Kentner told Helen Mann of CBC Radio's As it Happens, on Friday. 


​Kentner retrieved the steel trailer hitch ball and mount after the car drove off.

Barbara Kentner's small intestines were ruptured when she was struck, according to her sister.

A spokesperson for Thunder Bay police said the alleged assault with the trailer hitch is not being investigated as a hate crime because there "were no comments made which made any reference to race or ethnicity."

'Oh, I got one'

The passenger who threw the trailer hitch swore and yelled, "Oh, I got one," according to Kentner, and by "one," she believes he meant an Indigenous person. The driver was "gunning for someone," she said, and "the majority of people that walk [in that area] are Natives.

"And that's more or less all the people I see that get targeted in this city, are Native," she said. Kentner said that she had been hit by eggs thrown from the same car last summer.

On Friday, Thunder Bay police issued a more detailed description of the suspects: Caucasian men, in their mid-20s, believed to be in a four-door grey car with dark tinted windows.

"The passenger is reported to have been wearing a plaid shirt, blue baseball cap and have blond hair and possibly some facial scruff. The driver may have been wearing a red sweater and black toque," according to a police news release.

Sunday's solidarity walk is organized by the students from the Aboriginal community and advocacy program at Confederation College, with the permission of Fort William First Nation on whose traditional territory the walk will take place.

It begins Sunday, Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Patterson Park at the corner of May and Miles Streets in Thunder Bay.

With files from As it Happens

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