An employee at Fields was busy working Saturday afternoon when she heard a couple of booms and crashes.
Thinking it was a nearby store moving furniture, Rachael, who doesn’t want her last name used, ignored it. But when the noise of men arguing became louder and a woman screamed, she hurried out to investigate.
“By the time I hit the mall and peeked around the corner, I saw the three dudes, with the girl attacking one of them and another swinging a golf club,” she says.
The man with the club struck the other man over the head.
“I freaked out when I saw the club snap; I just freaked and went running.”
As she ran towards the men she started yelling, screaming for them to get out and saying the police were coming. As she screamed, the man wielding the club dropped it.
The man being attacked was lying on the floor “and I had seen the dude kick him in the gut when he’d fallen to the floor.”
When he tried to get up but couldn’t quite make it, Rachael, a slight woman, rushed in.
“I grabbed him before he smoked his head on the ground again; that would have been even worse. I helped him over to the bench and sat him down. Then I saw all those people just standing there.”
As she yelled for the bystanders to call the police and an ambulance, she couldn’t understand why no one else had helped.
In the meantime, says Rachael, the woman with the injured man had run into Fields and stolen a towel – “a Glee towel of all things” – and started wrapping his head with it. Rachael later found out the woman had apparently come into the store earlier and stolen a pack of knives, one of which she thinks the woman used to stab one of the men. Police report a knife was found at the scene.
She said the man had multiple injuries, but it’s the deep cut in his head she was most worried about.
“That’s the one I covered first. There was blood covering me and the floor – those ones bleed so profusely.”
Rachael says as soon as the woman realized the attackers were gone and the police had been called, she and the injured man left, him hobbling along, ignoring Rachael’s advice to stay put.
Rachael is humble about her own actions, but knows they made a difference.
“If I had of hesitated, two more seconds, if that dude had got hit one more time, that would have been more than an assault right there.”
Rachael has been left with a ruined coat, which she’s not pleased about, but urges bystanders in such situations to try to do something.
“I hope someone else out there who reads the story, in a similar situation – I hope a lot less than that – will yell, ‘Hey stop it, I’m calling the cops,’ and get someone’s attention.”
Police report they found the 33-year-old victim on Sunday when they obtained a search warrant for a home in Salmon Arm. He had sustained non-life- threatening injuries.
The unnamed man was taken to Shuswap Lake General Hospital for treatment. Upon his release, RCMP arrested him as he had an outstanding warrant for being unlawfully at large.
In addition, the man’s girlfriend was also arrested. Police say she punched an officer in the head while they were searching the home.
The incident began at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, when police were notified that four men were beating another man with golf clubs inside the mall. Rachael remembers the confrontation as three men versus the man and woman. She says she can’t identify any of them as she was so focused on the head injury.
Police say they believe this was a targeted attack and, as none of the suspects has been located, they are requesting that anyone who witnessed the event to come forward.
“As this incident occurred in the middle of the day, in the plain view of several people, we are particularly interested in obtaining any pictures and/or videos,” said Cpl. Damon Werrell. “We’d also like to hear from anyone who observed the suspects leave the scene and can provide a description of the vehicle they departed in.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the RCMP at 250-832-6044, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.