A day out with family at The Forks turned violent for a man in his 30s, when he was stabbed Sunday in an unprovoked assault.
The man went to use a washroom at the popular downtown Winnipeg market and tourist spot around 12:30 p.m. When he exited, two men he didn’t know confronted him and he was assaulted with a knife, city police said Monday.
The suspects fled on foot. Two men were later arrested nearby at a residence on the 300 block of Assiniboine Avenue.
Mark Jaslowski, who co-owns Phantom Amusement arcade in The Forks Market building, witnessed the aftermath of the attack.
He saw the victim sitting at a table outside the arcade, bleeding from his left side.
"There (was) a lady with a towel against the dude, pushing pressure against his wound," Jaslowski said Monday. "She had her knee actually pressed on it to keep pressure on (the wound)."
Forks security, police and other first responders quickly arrived. The man was conscious and appeared stable, Jaslowski said.
"They put him on a gurney and wheeled him out, then they did their investigation… They had it all cordoned off until the end (of the day). I shut down after that because you couldn’t get in, they had the tape across."
A Free Press reporter happened across the scene when he was visiting The Forks.
He, too, saw the injured man surrounded by police and emergency medical technicians, as blood lay on the ground. At least seven police cars and a fire truck were on the scene, the reporter said, as was a police dog unit.
On Monday, families skated on the ice rink outside The Forks Market and couples sat together in the food court, drinking beer and sharing meals over the lunch hour, the room humming like any other day. There were no obvious traces of a crime scene.
However, a security staffer stood near the entrance close to where the man received first aid, eyeing a note-taking Free Press reporter with guarded suspicion.
The arcade owner said the stabbing was unusual, calling The Forks an amazing place.
"We don’t have problems like that, we really don’t. Security knows all the bad actors, so to speak," Jaslowski said.
"The security guards, they know everybody. There is no problems because if you come here and cause problems, you’re out right away and everybody knows that."
Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of The Forks said the organization is thinking of the injured man.
"First and foremost, our thoughts are with the victim of this assault and his family, and we hope he makes a full and complete recovery. We value the safety and well-being of all visitors and are extremely saddened by the events of (Sunday)," Sara Stasiuk said in a statement to the Free Press.
Stasiuk added although The Forks is "not immune to crime," Sunday’s incident was "an extremely rare and isolated occurrence."
A 20-year-old man from Winnipeg has been charged with seven assault-related offences. He was detained in custody.
A 21-year-old man from Winnipeg is facing three assault-related charges. He was released on an undertaking.
Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.