‘He is not going to kill this woman’ Doctor recalls split-second decision to tackle stabber inside Seven Oaks hospital

Dr. Ken Hahlweg doesn’t think of himself as a hero, even though the snap decision he made to put himself in danger to save a life at Seven Oaks General Hospital was heroic.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/10/2021 (338 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Dr. Ken Hahlweg doesn’t think of himself as a hero, even though the snap decision he made to put himself in danger to save a life at Seven Oaks General Hospital was heroic.

Instead, Hahlweg says he was simply doing what he was trained to do during his shift at the Garden City-area hospital Wednesday when he heard an “awful wailing that didn’t even sound human.”

As Hahlweg approached the front desk near the main-entrance atrium, he saw two women fleeing as a third woman fell to the ground. But it was the sight of a man holding an eight-inch kitchen knife that triggered his own surgical strike.

Ken Hahlweg, site medical lead for the Northern Connection Medical Centre, knocked the suspect off Candyce Szkwarek and chased him out of Seven Oaks hospital on Wednesday. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

“I see he is going for her, he is going for her neck,’’ Hahlweg recounted in an interview with the Free Press.

“It just went through my mind that this is not going to happen. He is not going to kill this woman.”

In a matter of seconds, the medical lead for the Northern Connection Medical Centre sprinted toward the knife-wielding attacker, lowering his head before launching himself at the man.

“I knocked him off her,” Hahlweg said. “He stumbled back against the desk.”

The attacker then got up and, with the knife still in hand, took off with Hahlweg in pursuit.

“As long as he was running, I figured he wouldn’t be stabbing anyone.”

The chase took them out through the hospital doors and into the parking lot, where police were waiting, weapons drawn. Hahlweg said that’s when the man dropped the knife.

“I was satisfied the situation was under control so I went back in to check on the victim and she was lying in a pool of blood.”

Hahlweg said the woman, nursing supervisor Candyce Szkwarek, had been stabbed in the neck and the abdomen.

“It was just horrific,” he said. “The fear in her eyes. It was just unbelievable.”

Nursing supervisor Candyce Szkwarek was stabbed in the neck and the abdomen at Seven Oaks hospital on Wednesday. (Facebook) Candyce Szkwarek - nurse at Seven Oaks Hospital Winnipeg

Szkwarek was rushed to Health Sciences Centre for surgery immediately after the attack. Police said Friday they had no update on her condition, which was critical, but stable, on Thursday.

The shock of what happened at Seven Oaks is still raw, something Hahlweg is having to process. He offered an interesting diagnosis of his actions.

“I am a physician, that is who I am,” he said. “My training led me to act in the moment. We are trained to not freeze, but to act and to do what needs to be done to get someone to wellness rather than illness or harm.

“My colleagues would have done the same.”

Trevor Farley, 37, a registered nurse employed at the hospital, is in police custody. The attack occurred about an hour after RCMP officers conducting a well-being check discovered the body of Farley’s 73-year-old mother Judy Swain on her farm in New Bothwell. They alerted police that the suspect was on his way to Winnipeg, about 45 kilometres northwest.

Several hours after the attack, RCMP investigators discovered the body of Stuart Farley, the suspect’s 73-year-old father, at a home on the 300 block of Toronto Street in the West End.

Farley’s parents had been divorced for more than a decade. Police believe both were homicide victims.

According to his Facebook profile, 73-year-old Stuart Farley was born in Bristol, England and belonged to a Facebook group called Winnipeg Pagans.

“I am heartbroken with many of my fellow witches,” Winnipeg Pagans member LeAmber Raven wrote in a post to the group Friday morning. “Stuart Farley has journeyed to his next adventure. May his spirit find rest.”

In a phone interview with the Free Press, Raven described Stuart Farley as a respected member of the local pagan community.

Suspect Trevor Farley was held for a medical assessment following his arrest Wednesday.

“Stuart was a remarkable man,” she said. “He was very intelligent and learned and joyful.”

Raven said Farley was constantly researching different belief systems, most recently studying death “and how to meet it on his own terms.”

“One thing we all agree on is he didn’t,” she said. “He didn’t meet it on his own terms.”

While Farley was always ready to share his ideas and beliefs, he was less forthcoming when it came to his personal life, Raven said.

“He didn’t talk about his family a lot,” she said. “There was some discussion he was not close with his children, but we can’t really say what their relationship was.”

Sources have told the Free Press that Trevor Farley was adamantly opposed to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, a skepticism that appears to have been shared by his father, according to several of his Facebook posts.

“So why are we still locked down?” Stuart Farley wrote in a post dated June 1, 2020 and attached to a story determined by Facebook to have no basis in fact. “What is in the vax if it is so important to make everyone take it for a false alarm. You may trust them, but I don’t.”

At the age of 20, Trevor Farley ran as a candidate for the Green Party in the 2004 federal election in the Selkirk-Interlake riding, losing to Conservative MP James Bezan.

Trevor Farley was held for a medical assessment following his arrest Wednesday. He had not been charged as of Friday afternoon, but a source told the Free Press he was being questioned by police.

“They are interrogating him as we speak,” the source said. “I assume they are charging him and he should be on the (court) docket in a day or two.”

Police respond to the scene at Seven Oaks General Hospital Wednesday afternoon. (Mike Sudoma / Winnipeg Free Press files)

A Winnipeg Police Service spokesperson would not confirm that.

“I don’t see any new information coming out of our office until tomorrow,” said Const. Rob Carver.

Judy Swain, an organic farmer, was remembered by friends and neighbours Thursday as a generous and hard-working woman “full of life and vitality.”

“She had a fantastic farm operation, she was a happy face to see at the market where she sometimes sold her chickens,” Kristie Beynon, executive director of Direct Farm Manitoba, told the Free Press.

dean.pritchard@freepress.mb.ca

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

Paul Samyn

Paul Samyn
Editor

Paul Samyn has been part of the Free Press newsroom for more than a quarter century, working his way up after starting as a rookie reporter in 1988.

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