NEWS

Man recounts fending off attacker in Hamilton stabbing spree

03/09/2014 04:09 EDT | Updated 05/09/2014 05:59 EDT
A knife-wielding man who allegedly went on a vicious stabbing spree inside an east Hamilton apartment complex on Saturday night appeared to have “lost his mind,” said one of the victims.

Jamie Meuse and his wife Christine Fitzsimmons-Meuse were two of the four people who were stabbed in a bizarre series of attacks at 221 Melvin Ave. just before 10 p.m. on Saturday.

Police arrested one suspect in the case, but he was taken to hospital after suffering injuries after officers chased him on foot. 

In an interview with CBC News, the 40-year-old father gave a firsthand account of the assault, in which a stranger burst into the family’s first-floor apartment, attacked Meuse’s wife before stabbing him in the neck, cheek and the back of his head.

“I heard my wife scream and my daughter scream, so I came out of the bedroom,” said Meuse. “Where I was, I could see him with knife up in the air going to take a swing at my wife.”

Fitzsimmons-Meuse, also 40, put her hands up to block, he said. Immediately, Meuse yelled at the attacker. “I got his attention and he turned his attention to me.”

The assailant — a tall man in his 20s whom Meuse said he’d seen in the parking lot — bolted towards him with a knife.

“He tried stabbing me the whole length of the hallway. He backed me into the corner. I had nowhere else to go.”

Fighting to break free

The fracas continued as the attacker forced Meuse into the bedroom, he said. The two men struggled and Meuse was able to break free, leaving his assailant in the apartment.

Meuse ran out the front door, his wife and daughter already outside the building.

Throughout the struggle, Meuse said, the attacker “looked disturbed.”

“I was yelling at him the whole time, like ‘What are you doing, man? Are you crazy?’ And he looked right through me. He looked past me. It was like he wasn’t hearing any words I was saying. It was just a blank expression.”

While waiting in the apartment lobby, Meuse said, he saw the suspect running away and identified him to police.

“I was standing in the front lobby of the building when the police came in the driveway and I pointed him out to them.

"And that was it. The chase was on.”

YouTube video

A video posted to YouTube appears to provide a chilling account of the stabbing from two unidentified victims.  

Blogger Frankie Gotz, 26, shot the footage through the peephole of the door to his apartment and later posted it online.

Gotz's clip shows police interviewing a mother and son who live across the hallway, who say a stranger burst into their doorway wielding a knife.

“Where were you when you got stabbed?” an officer asks in the video.

“I was right in the doorway,” a male voice says offscreen. “I heard a noise in the hallway, opened the door, he pushed his way in and he stabbed me. I’ve never seen the guy before in my life."

Officers ask a number of questions to tease out more details from the mother and son, whom Gotz sees regularly but doesn't know by name. Speakers in the video sometimes speak over each other, rendering some of the testimony difficult to hear. 

“He pushed his way in and then stabbed me in the living room,” says the woman, whose light shirt is covered in what appears to be blood, her voice trembling.

“And then he took off and I tried to chase him to stop him from stabbing my son.”

The woman says she ran down the stairs to the first floor and saw the assailant run into another room.

“The people came out of his apartment, running down the hallway screaming and saw me and he went into the apartment and closed the door,” she gasps.

She said she found her son in the hallway on the first floor.

In an interview with CBC News, Gotz said he heard commotion while he was lying in bed on Saturday night. He said he heard a man yell for help followed by the sound of people running in the stairwell.

“I got out of my bed to grab a bat and then I heard the [woman] yell for help,” said Gotz. “I thought, ‘This is really bizarre’ because [she] and her son do not have any domestic disturbances. So I knew something was going on.”

Gotz said he looked through the peephole to see what was going on, eventually peaking his head out the door.

“Her door was open. There was blood on her front door. There was blood on the staircase door and there was trail of blood going down the stairs.”

Then he heard screaming emanating from another floor of the building.

“It was eerie screaming. I came in the apartment, I locked the doors, and I called the cops.” 

SIU probe

Police said in a Sunday statement that a total of four victims were injured in the rampage. Paramedics took all four victims to hospital, police said. 

The suspect was also taken hospital after a confrontation with police, one that the province’s Special Investigations Unit has been called in to investigate.

“As a result of the interaction between Hamilton Police and the male suspect, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was contacted,” said Hamilton police Staff Sgt. Michael Webber in a Sunday statement.

“The SIU have control of this investigation at this time.”

The SIU is called in any time police are involved in an incident in which someone is severely injured, dies or alleges sexual assault.

By Sunday morning, Meuse and his wife were resting at home.

He said he’s at a loss for answers about why the violence took place.

“There’s no reason for it. Nobody knew him really. He just went nuts and started stabbing.

'He lost his mind.' 

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