Hammer attack leaves Good Samaritan with lifelong injuries

A Good Samaritan beaten in the head with a hammer after he intervened in the bullying of a teenage boy now lives with a steel plate in his head and has lost his sense of taste and smell, a trial has heard.

Read this article for free:

or

Already have an account? Log in here »

To continue reading, please subscribe with this special offer:

All-Access Digital Subscription

$1.50 for 150 days*

  • Enjoy unlimited reading on winnipegfreepress.com
  • Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
  • Access News Break, our award-winning app
  • Play interactive puzzles
Continue

*Pay $1.50 for the first 22 weeks of your subscription. After 22 weeks, price increases to the regular rate of $19.00 per month. GST will be added to each payment. Subscription can be cancelled after the first 22 weeks.

A Good Samaritan beaten in the head with a hammer after he intervened in the bullying of a teenage boy now lives with a steel plate in his head and has lost his sense of taste and smell, a trial has heard.

Zachary Fitzsimmons spent three weeks in hospital after he was attacked by a group of men outside of the Maryland Hotel on Sept. 1, 2020.

Twenty-year-old Jonathan Malachai Flett, the man who wielded the hammer, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, but admits he is guilty of aggravated assault.

Fitzsimmons, 27, testified he had been “hanging out” and drinking with his fiancé and friends when they drove to the Maryland Hotel to pick up more beer before going home.

Fitzsimmons said he was approaching the beer vendor entrance when he saw “a group of guys messing around with this younger kid… They were circled round him. I could sense something was going to happen. They were bullying him.”

Fitzsimmons said several bystanders were walking in the area but did nothing to assist the boy.

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Zachary Fitzsimmons spent three weeks in hospital after he was attacked by a group of men outside of the Cold Beer Warehouse on Maryland two years ago.

“I came up (to the group) and said: ‘Leave that kid alone,’” he said. “They didn’t like that. They got up in my face and said: ‘What are you going to do?’ I felt like I was going to be the one they were fighting, that’s how close they were to my face.”

Fitzsimmons said he may have thrown the first punch in self defence and found himself fighting two of the men while a third struck him in the head several times with a retractable baton.

“Everything flashed white” and the next thing he remembered was waking up in hospital with his fiancé feeling “very confused,” Fitzsimmons said.

“I came up (to the group) and said: ‘Leave that kid alone’… They didn’t like that. They got up in my face and said: ‘What are you going to do?’ I felt like I was going to be the one they were fighting, that’s how close they were to my face.” – Zachary Fitzsimmons

Fitzsimmons did not testify to being struck with a hammer, but security video of the attack shows Flett striking Fitzsimmons nine times in the head with a drywall hammer, at one point lodging the tool in his skull.

Police arrived a short time after the attack and found Fitzsimmons on the ground, his face covered in blood.

Police arrested one of his attackers, Brendan Monias, three minutes later on Sherbrook Street in possession of a blood-stained baton.

Flett, who was arrested two days later, can be seen on the security video discarding the hammer through a hole in a fence near the hotel.

Fitzsimmons suffered a broken jaw and shattered nose in the attack.

“I have titanium in my nose and skull in various places,” he said. “My nose is all titanium.”

“I have titanium in my nose and skull in various places… My nose is all titanium.” – Zachary Fitzsimmons

Fitzsimmons testified wearing a patch over his right eye.

“My eye popped out of my skull (during the attack) and I had to go through reconstructive surgery,” he said. “They took cartilage from my right ear and made a new eyelid.”

Fitzsimmons has lost his sense of taste and smell, has trouble with his memory and has yet to return to work, he said.

Further surgeries to repair the injuries to his face and skull have been repeatedly delayed due to the pandemic. “It is still up in the air right now,” he said.

The Crown has rested its case. The trial resumes Monday with witnesses for the defence.

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.

Report Error Submit a Tip