October 31, 2014 - 1:17 PM
BUS PASSANGERS WARY AFTER MURDER
KELOWNA – Passengers on the number eight bus in Kelowna are eyeing each other with more suspicion Friday, after a man was murdered in an apparently random knife attack at a stop on Baron Road Thursday night.
Taran Mundie, 23, is a UBCO student who takes the bus almost every day. Although he wasn’t there when the attack took place, he admits the incident makes him uneasy.
“It’s a little unsettling, for sure,” he says. “You’d never expect that to happen on such a major bus route.”
Mundie says he isn’t worried enough to stop taking the bus but admits to eyeing other passengers with more suspicion.
Joann Maranda only started taking the bus in May. She’s surprised something like this happened in Kelowna. Although she’s not worried about another attack, she considers it a wakeup call to be more vigilant.
“You just never know what can happen,” she says. “It’s easy to zone out when you’re on the bus but I’ll be paying more attention to who’s around me from now on.”
Devon Amaral is an employee at Easy Home. He was taking out the garbage at around the time RCMP say the attack happened and noticed a city bus pulled to the side of Baron Road with a police cruiser behind it. At first he thought the bus driver had committed a traffic violation but he quickly realized it was much more serious.
“The next thing I saw there were six cop cars and a fire truck and all the roads were being blocked off,” he says. “I saw paramedics getting on the bus but I didn’t see anybody get stabbed or anything like that.”
The last thing Amaral saw before returning to work was a police dog being led around the scene by an officer.
“It’s crazy,” he says. “I take the bus every day so it kind of sketches me out. I feel like I have to watch my back a little bit more, maybe pick my place on the bus a little bit better and take a good look at everybody that’s on there.”
Both Mundi and Amaral say they have seen camera domes on some buses, but spokesperson for B.C. Transit Meribeth Burton says currently there are no cameras on any Kelowna transit buses.
“At this time B.C. Transit buses are not equipped with surveillance cameras but we are actively investigating options,” Burton says.
She says they plan to begin installing cameras on all buses next spring.
The President of the local Transit Union has confirmed a man died as a result of a stabbing on a city bus Thursday night but says there is no indication the suspect and victim knew each other.
“It was definitely a stabbing,” Les Milton says. “So far the indication from the operator is that it was a completely random thing but he only saw what transpired on the bus. We don’t know if something happened at a bus stop and I don’t want to speculate on an ongoing investigation.”
Milton estimates there were between 16 and 20 people onboard when the attack happened.
“The only injury on the bus was to the one victim,” he says.
Milton says the driver, who was not injured during the attack, was very upset and is taking the day for “personal reflection.”
“He’s a good man with good character and I’m pretty sure he’s going to get through this in time,” Milton says. “I’m glad I’m not him.”
The bus is currently being examined for evidence at a forensic facility.
RCMP are not commenting on whether or not the public should be concerned for their own safety.
Const. Kris Clark will only confirm the incident happened at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Clark will not release the name, age or hometown of the victim, he would not say if the altercation was a stabbing, he would not confirm if a knife was used, he would not release a description of the suspect, he refused to say if the suspect is currently at large and he would not say if an arrest has been made.
He did say there would be a media release issued before the end of the day.
Milton says he has not been told of any arrests, adding the buses continue to run.
“I don’t believe the risk is any greater today than it was yesterday,” he says.
The victim, a male passenger, was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police are asking witnesses or anyone with information to call the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at email@example.com or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-2724.
— This story was updated at 11:48 a.m, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 to include comment from RCMP spokesperson Const. Kris Clark.
— This story was updated at 12:13 a.m., Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 to include the RCMP's plan to hold a media conference.
— This story was updated at 1:16 p.m., Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 to include comments from bus passangers and B.C. Transit.
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