Content warning: This story contains details of a graphic attack that may upset some readers.
Skateboarding in Nanaimo Monday, Jackob Schwartz was worried about his 18-year-old friend ‘Donnie,’ who was attacked with a baseball bat and found near death along a Bruce Avenue sidewalk.
“I know him pretty well, actually. He’s one of my best friends … Yeah, I feel pretty sad,” said Schwartz, a Nanaimo resident.
It happened in broad daylight just before 5 p.m. Friday at the corner of Bruce Avenue and Dundas Street.
“Yeah, I could have definitely been with him when that happened,” said Schwartz.
Disturbing video of the attack has spread on social media and shows a masked male attacking the 18-year-old with a bat and then kicking him, even as the victim lay crumpled unconscious.
SEE PREVIOUS STORY: Nanaimo teen in serious condition after ‘heinous’ attack with baseball bat
According to Nanaimo RCMP, four to five youth were seen running from the scene. That was when Nanaimo resident Barclay Kelly rushed to help the victim.
“He came to when I was holding him, and then he freaked out, and I just let him know that I was here. I got your back, nobody’s gonna hurt you now. I just did first aid on him, got him awake until the medics got here,” said Kelly, who lives nearby on Bruce Avenue.
Nanaimo RCMP said the victim’s injuries were severe.
“(He was) later taken to a hospital in Victoria with life-threatening conditions. Apparently, he is stable now,” said R/Cst. Gary O’Brien, spokesperson for the Nanaimo RCMP.
“We haven’t made an arrest. We have seized a vehicle that is associated with the assault. We’ve identified the registered owner of that vehicle, and we’re very confident that we will be able to identify the suspect and hold that person accountable.”
The victim was well known to police, and investigators suspect it was a targeted attack.
“There’s always a risk to the public when somebody takes violence to that level, but having said that, we believe this is a targeted incident. It’s not a random attack on somebody that was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said O’Brien.
“There was obviously something going on with these groups.”
Nanaimo RCMP said Monday that the assault is a top priority, and investigators with the Major Crime Unit are actively working to arrest a suspect.