The peaceful docks of Cowichan Bay have been rocked by an assault that’s left popular local man Jody Williams clinging to life in hospital.
Now the community is rallying around his longtime partner.
“They’re super fantastic people,” said the couple’s neighbour and friend, Malcolm Winters.
“They help out around the community incredibly. Jody’s kind of like the handyman around the docks,” said Winters.
“Yeah it’s hitting the whole community hard,” said friend Joe Meyer.
The assault happened May 27 on Cowichan Bay’s Pier 66 where Williams lives on his boat with his partner Anita Laminman.
Her daughter says Williams confronted two men who had been drinking just steps outside the victim’s boat when things turned violent.
“There were two men that were urinating from the pier into the water,” said Kat Skakun, whose mother has been Williams partner for over five years.
“And Jody was just kind of like guys move along and then got attacked.”
RCMP say the 58-year-old victim fell to the concrete when he was struck and was found with life-threatening injuries.
He was airlifted away to hospital in Victoria, where he remains in a medically induced coma after several surgeries, including removal of parts of his skull and frontal lobe of his brain.
“Jody is not a violent person,” said Skakun.
“He’s not an angry person so to hear that he was attacked in such a way has been very shocking and has been heartbreaking.”
Malcolm Winters lives a few float homes away and says the community immediately began fundraising to help Anita get to and from hospital to keep daily vigil. Williams condition is still very critical.
“And one punch changed a couple people’s lives basically,” said Meyer.
“I really hope he’s going to be okay,” said Winters.
“And that he will be back on the docks soon,” he said.
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested two men in their 40s for assault causing bodily harm, and are still appealing for witnesses as their investigation continues.