It’s the kind of thing that should never happen.
A man killed while serving the public during the course of his employment.
A transit driver no less.
Senseless doesn’t even begin to describe the nature of the violent act that claimed his life.
“This is an attack on all of us,” a retired Winnipeg Police Staff Sargent lamented on social media.
It truly is.
An attack on any public servant while serving in the line of duty is an attack on every decent, productive, law-abiding citizen in our City.
While details of the killing remain scant, the expressions of tragedy and the sense of overwhelming loss are abundant.
What we know…
On February 14, 2017 at approximately 1:55 a.m., members of the Winnipeg Police Service responded to a report of a weapon incident at the intersection of Dafoe Road West and Gillson Street.
The initial information received was that a City of Winnipeg Transit Driver had been assaulted by a lone passenger while he was stopped at the end of his route.
Upon arrival, police located the driver who was found to be suffering from serious stab wounds.
The man was rushed to hospital in critical condition but succumbed to his injuries.
The victim was identified as Irvine Jubal Fraser (58) of Winnipeg.
Responding officers, led by the K9 Unit, were able to locate a suspect on the ice-covered Red River between Freedman Crescent to the north and Marine Driver to the south.
The twenty-two (22) year old suspect was arrested and taken into custody.
He is yet to be identified.
The K9 Officer subsequently returned to the river to search for evidence at which time he fell through the ice. Patrol Officers rushed to his aid and were able to pull him from the frigid waters using a piece of rope.
The officer was not injured.
WPS Chief Danny Smyth confirmed the suspect was the lone passenger on the bus at the time of the attack. He did not disclose the motive for the killing.
“It is a shocking story any time a public servant is killed while working, whether that’s police, fire or in this instance, a public transit driver,” Smyth said. “Our heart goes out to all of the public servants that are out there doing their job every day. We don’t think things like this are going to happen.”
The investigation is continuing by members of the Major Crimes Unit.
Winnipeg Transit buses are equipped with high quality video and audio recording capability.
The recording equipment may offer compelling evidence in this case.
The accused in this case will likely be identified by the Police on Wednesday, February 15th.
The charges laid will offer much insight into the nature of the killing.
Irvine Fraser is the 5th reported homicide victim in Winnipeg this year.
Last year, the 5th homicide was reported on February 22nd.
Why isn’t the Homicide Unit investigating such a high-profile crime?
As indicated in the police press release, the WPS Major Crimes Unit is investigating the senseless killing of Irvine Fraser.
If you follow the Winnipeg crime beat you would know the WPS Homicide Unit is currently investigating two (2) recent unsolved homicides.
These killings occurred on February 6th and February 8th and have undoubtedly stretched resources in the unit very thin.
In cases where Homicide Unit resources are predisposed, the Major Crimes Unit often takes the lead in new murder cases.
The Major Crime Unit (MCU) is led by experienced Sergeants and seasoned investigators who often assist the Homicide Unit in complex murder cases when additional support and resources are required.
In December 2009, Transit Driver Tom Bregg was savagely beaten and stomped during the morning rush hour in Edmonton, Alberta. The intoxicated attacker refused to pay the fare, punched the driver several times, dragged him off the bus and proceeded to stomp on his face more than a dozen times. The driver suffered brain injuries and lost an eye. The attacker plead guilty to aggravated assault and received a dangerous offender designation.
In February 2015, Parliament passed federal legislation called Bregg’s Law that called for enhanced sentencing for assaults on transit drivers.
The Criminal Code of Canada
Aggravating circumstance — assault against a public transit operator
When a court imposes a sentence for an offence referred to in paragraph 264.1(1)(a) (Utter Threats to Cause Death) or any of sections 266 to 269, (Assault, Assault with a Weapon, Assault Cause Bodily Harm, Aggravated Assault) it shall consider as an aggravating circumstance the fact that the victim of the offence was, at the time of the commission of the offence, a public transit operator engaged in the performance of his or her duty.
*It would appear that aggravating circumstances in this section do not apply to the offence of manslaughter or murder.
Social Media ;