A Bizarre Story

Canadian News

Canadian News

A very bizarre and tragic event took place in Canada last week. A Greyhound passenger, traveling from Edmonton to Winnipeg, was brutally murdered and beheaded by another passenger. This random murder left the country in shock.

Tim McLean, the victim, boarded a Greyhound bus in Edmonton to his hometown, Winnipeg. He was a 22 years old kid described as quiet and easy-going. Vince Weiguang Li, the killer, is 40 years old. He had no criminal record and was a McDonald’s employee in Edmonton.

According to the witnesses (there were 37 passengers in the bus), Li boarded the bus in Brandon (Manitoba) at 6:55 p.m. He originally sat near the front of the bus, but moved to sit next to McLean following a rest stop. The trip was long and McLean, like many passengers, had fallen asleep listening to his MP3. Suddenly, M. Caton, a passenger who sat one row ahead of McLean, described hearing “a blood-curdling scream” saying, “I turned around and the guy sitting right [behind]me was standing up and stabbing another guy with a big Rambo knife … Right in the throat. Repeatedly.

The police arrived to find the attacker still in the bus and the passengers huddled at the roadside, in shock. They had all left the bus seconds after the attack and had prevented Li from escaping from the bus with a crowbar and a hammer. The driver had engaged the emergency immobilizer system so the attacker couldn’t drive away, as he attempted to do so earlier.

McLean was stabbed over fifty times before being decapitated by his attacker. Other gruesome details were revealed by the passengers in shock and a police tape that leaked on the internet, but weren’t confirmed by the police.

The suspect taunted the tactical unit that had gathered around the bus. At 1:30 am Li broke through a window and attempted to escape. He was apprehended by the police. So far, Li hasn’t spoken but remains in police custody and is under suicide watch. He appeared at the court and didn’t speak. He only nodded when the judge asked him if he was exercising his right to remain silent. He was charged with second-degree murder.

The news was everywhere in Canada. Of course, the gruesome nature of the murder is shocking but what may be even more disturbing is the randomness of the attack. The two guys didn’t know each other. There must have been a trigger but I doubt we will ever know.

I read and heard several comments that left me speechless, though. “Why didn’t anyone fight back?” “Over thirty passengers could have overpowered a lone man with a knife, right?” This is usually followed by a “Canadians have no balls” and “too bad you guys don’t have guns“.

I love these Mr. Real Man. Unleash your inner Superman, grab your gun and shoot. Pose for the picture. Save the world and be a hero.

Truth is, in this kind of situation, I doubt anyone has a chance to realize what’s happening before it happens… and before it’s too late. Most of us are not prepared for this kind of situation and we can only do the best we can. That doesn’t mean we should be judged afterwards. The poor passengers escaped and that the best they could do. Period. And this reminds me of a story…

A few years ago, I had just arrived from Paris and was walking from the train station to my parent’s place. It was about 8 p.m. and the streets were almost empty.

I was arriving to my parent’s place when I saw a man staggering in the street. He was probably 60 meters away from me. I assumed he was a drunk or a weirdo and changed sidewalk without thinking much of it, but he seemed to be moving towards me. A few seconds later, my eyes registered that he was a young man and that he was covered in blood. And he had a knife stuck into his belly.

My eyes got the details but for a few seconds, my brain froze. The picture I was making seemed to unrealistic and out of place for me to process it.

I got stabbed“, he said, “I think I’m gonna faint“.

I came towards him and helped him lay against a concrete pole. He didn’t faint but he did look very pale. Well, I guess having a knife stuck into you could be a good reason to be pale.

You’re gonna be okay“, I said. “I’m just gonna call an ambulance“. As I was saying that, I realized I didn’t have a cell phone or a phone card to make the call. But I could see my parent’s apartment a few meters away, so I figured I could run home and call. But I felt bad leaving the kid here.

Fortunately, an heavily-tattooed guy stopped near us. “Need help here?” “Yes, I just found him a minute ago, looks like he got stabbed”. I’m very good at stating the obvious. The passerby sensed my distress and winked at me. “I have a cell phone, let me call”.

I turned back to the kid who was starting to freak out pretty bad. He did have a lot of blood on him, his tee-shirt was soaked but the wound didn’t seem to bleed as much now that he was sitting. I didn’t think removing the knife would help so I tried to talk to him to distract him from the object in his abdomen. “So, what happened?” I asked. “I was just walking here“, he pointed a small park nearby the river, “and a guy stabbed me. Well, I knew the guy but how could I have known he had a knife, fuck, fuck, fuck, I don’t wanna die man!

The Hell’s Angel guy finished the call and turned to us. “S’right kid, they gonna be here in a minute“. “I just don’t wanna die! I didn’t know it, but I don’t wanna die!” he cried plaintively. “Hey man, I took a lot of knives in my life, you don’t die of a knife wound, pussy!

Great“, I thought, “this guy is a Hell’s Angel“. He started to take off his shirt to show the kid his heroic life. He did have a lot of scars on his abdomen. “See, got stabbed here, there and I think here again. And I’m still here!” he concluded, putting his shirt back on.

We somehow managed to keep the kid from fainting before the ambulance arrived. He was taken in and I’m sure he ended up fine. The tattoo guy and I left the scene.

The whole thing lasted maybe thirty minutes but I will always remember it. How it took me several seconds to realize what was going on. How I couldn’t do much but call an ambulance. How sometimes, life is just a question of being at the right place at the right time, or maybe the opposite, the wrong place at the wrong time.


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. That you were shocked to learn of the tragic murder says a lot of Canada. Here, at least in Baltimore, you had *better* be prepared.

    Ghostys last great read…My Social Second Life

  2. Hi, I so agree with you on how people kept criticizing the passengers for not helping. That’s why I was frustrated at the comments on CBC and even some of my coworkers said help should of been done. Well, no one knows how they will react until they are put in that horrible situation. I cannot stand how people are so quick to jump when they never been to one’s shoe.

    This attack will never be fully comprehended by the authorities or the public. Maybe the murderer can’t even understand what he has done. The murder is truly out of a scary movie.

    bluefishs last great read…Braseiro

  3. I was shocked beyond words when I read this news and for nothing this victim was murdered a gruesome death ;(

    I never imagined you encountered a situation like this Zhu, I knew it is very unsafe to walk at night and more so when we were in the subway be it in London, Paris or Barcelona. Glad someone ‘angel’ came by though.

  4. It really is shocking news, but god what do they expect the other passengers to do? It’s a traumatizing event for them, it’s not like they can process everything and jump into action within a split second.

    Even then, if one guy gets up, who says anyone is going to follow and then instead of one guy dead there’s two.

    There was a time when heroics like that would actually work but nowadays people are just SO screwed up that you never really know who you are dealing with.

    For example, one night my husband and I were out with a friend of ours and as we were waiting at the tram stop a couple came to the stop across from us. He started beating the living SHIT out of her. He was a huge black guy and he was Moroccan or something, who knows what was going on. Was he in some kind of rage, was he on drugs, did he have weapons on him? My husband and his friends commented that they should do something and I said ‘yeah, stay right here and call the police’. I wasn’t having my husband get stabbed or shot trying to help some strange woman who just sat there taking the beating and would probably testify on her boyfriend / husband’s behalf after he murdered my husband. Screw that!

    It’s just not worth it these days. It really isn’t. It’s a time where you have to look out for yourself and those you love because nobody else is going to.

    Breighs last great read…Typisch Nederlands!

  5. I read about this horrid episode! Given how strange and sudden this attack was, I wouldn’t blame the other passengers, especially since they at least had the presence of mind to trap him inside the bus.

    BTW, re: 30 others not doing anything. There is also another psychology at play in public crimes. Experts have found that you would (many a time) intervene (or try to) if you were the only witness. However, if there are many, every one feels someone else will do the needful and stays out of harm’s way.

    Shantanus last great read…Roti Telur & Baby Back Ribs

  6. Ohh Christ! How inhuman is this? I am alwayz shocked to see the cruelty of Man 🙁

    On one hand we are proud of 21st century and to the other such news 🙁 So much of contradiction 🙁

  7. I was attacked by a German Shephard when I was 6, and all my friends just stared in horror. No one thought of distracting the dog. I still have the scars, and I can remember the screams and people standing around feeling helpless.

    We just never know how we’re going to respond to an unexpected tragedy…and it’s not fair to judge people’s actions under those kinds of circumstances.

    Scarlets last great read…what a cruise!

  8. Hi dear ZHU,
    Impressive story Zhu…
    Also very tragic..and shocking,
    I cannot say more its too bad…

    Perhaps you think “where is JoAnn?”
    Well in June I had a surgerey & could not internet, than after that Holiday in FRANCE -I am still there- so i try to visit everyone ‘s blog I like, yours I like, but Here I am! See my blog for my Travel through France…. Bye Au Revoir,

    JoAnn Holland/ now in France

    JoAnn D Eyes Hollands last great read…() FRANCE: Roofbell….

  9. Salut Zhu,
    That is so horrid about the stabbing in the Greyhound bus ! This world is so crazy at times !! I swear… Yeah; it’s easy to critisize & say ” why din’t they do this or that ?”. When you are in a bad situation like that, it’s the fear factor that’s working & most people don’t want to be heroes.
    You had a quite a happening there, on the way to your parent’s house. I would have done my 100% also to help the young man. You did just fine and I’m sure that he’s walking around, alive… with his scar !

    Big hugs to you (((())))

    barbaras last great read…More challenges

  10. I suppose this shows that one can never know when a tragic event would happen. And I agree, I do not get why there would be people blaming the other passengers for not stopping the killer. If they were in the situation, would they have done something? I suppose in the shock, no one would do anything different from what the other passengers did.

    Linguist-in-Waitings last great read…I Survived the Trinity

  11. @sir jorge – Yet, things like that rarely happen… fortunately!

    @Ghosty – It is shocking for Canada. I can’t remember anyhting that graphic, even though we have murders and domestic violence etc.

    @bluefish – Exactly. I don’t think any of us would have done any better… I hate seeing these passengers blamed.

    @shionge – We are all humans and we did our best given the circumstances… Sorry, the story was graphic.

    @Breigh – I totally agree with you. We do our best but sometimes, survival instinct takes over and running away is probably the only thing to do.

    @CM-Chap – Sorry for the graphic story!

    @Shantanu – They all must have been in shock and I wouldn’t blame them either.

    @Annie – Fortunately, this is a rare incident. We shouldn’t be scared of living.

    @Mar – It is the most shocking story in a long time, for sure!

    @Scarlet – As a victim, I would want people to help of course. But in this case, I doubted there were much to do…

    @JoAnn D Eyes Holland – Hey, glad to see you’re back and doing well!

    @barbara – I really didn’t do much, I was just using the story to illustrate that given the chance, we would all try to help someone in distress, but in some shocking situation, we just can’t process.

    @SilverNeurotic – It is a tragic incident, but unfortunately, it’s rare.

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – I would have ran away, I’m sure of it.

  12. you can’t criticize others for acting the way they do in an emergency. it isn’t cowardice, it’s instinct. it’s survival. that everyone else got off the bus without being injured, that’s the best outcome. keeping the killer from escaping, that’s heroic.
    helping the guy that got stabbed was heroic too. you could have ran away. after all, the stabber night have been hiding in the bushes. you could have called an ambulance from the safety of your parent’s house.

    Seraphines last great read…Yaa Saa’iha (Hello Tourist)

  13. This was so so sad to read about. I felt really bad for the victim and his family. It’s completely random and shocking. I don’t know how I would have reacted in the situation. Sometimes it takes my brain a while to register that something bad is happening and that I should react. But of course, by then, it’s probably too late.

  14. @Seraphine – I don’t think it was heroic… it was just instinct. The place wasn’t dangerous and it seemed to be a random attack, besides, we were in a public place. I sometimes wish I knew what happened to the kid and the attacker though.

    @Jennie – I would have ran away, chances given. I think we just follow our instinct in this case.

    @kyh – True, although I believe this was the action of a crazy man and of course it wasn’t political.

  15. Yeah. Well, it’s most likely that no one would have been able to stop him in time. However, here in the states, I would have shot the bastard anyway had I been on the bus carrying a concealed weapon. First, I would have been protecting myself and my fellow passengers. Second, why waste tax dollars jailing and putting a pscyho like that on trial?

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