Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Train hoppers allegedly involved in Canada Day attack

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A Canada Day stabbing in Winnipeg was allegedly the product of a feud that began in Toronto between a group of so-called train hoppers who frequently move around the country.

The Free Press has uncovered new details of the July 1 attack in Transcona, which sent a 34-year-old man to hospital in critical condition.

Sources say the victim is a resident of Saskatoon who suffered a gruesome injury as a result of having a serrated knife plunged into his stomach and then removed. He has since been upgraded to serious but stable condition.

The man had recently arrived in Winnipeg after jumping on a train carrying cargo. He was socializing behind a restaurant in the 1500 block of Regent Avenue with a group of other transients he'd met along the journey.

The group had spent a few days living on the streets, sleeping under a bridge and foraging for food and drink in dumpsters.

One of them, allegedly, was the accused. The two men had a history that dated back to a recent rail stop in Toronto where they got into a dispute.

Sources say their hostilities carried over to Winnipeg and were fuelled by alcohol.

"There was some argument over how certain things had gone down in Toronto," a source said.

Following the stabbing, police quickly identified an alleged attacker and issued an arrest warrant. They described the fugitive as armed and dangerous.

Michael John Ernest Wereta, 27, was arrested two days later inside a Winnipeg home. Sources say he is a resident of Winnipeg who was staying with the mother of his newborn baby, whom he was carrying in his arms when he emerged from the home and surrendered to officers who had drawn their weapons.

Wereta is now in custody facing several charges including aggravated assault and breach of probation. None of the allegations has been proven and he is presumed innocent.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 9, 2014 B3

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