Nanaimo homeless attack survivor says it’s remarkable he’s alive

Nanaimo homeless attack survivor says it's remarkable he's alive
Kendall Hanson
WatchA homeless man in Nanaimo says it's remarkable he's still alive considering the viciousness of the attack he survived. Kendall Hanson has more.

A homeless man in Nanaimo says it’s remarkable he’s still alive considering the viciousness of the attack he survived.

Charles Salter is able to stand on his own weight again despite ongoing pain and injuries that include 32 compound fractures in his leg and a rebuilt pelvis.

“I got a plate on each side here and four bars in my back. I’ve got no ribs left. My lungs have been stitched and lasered up,” said Salter.

Salter, who worked for years as a painter in Nanaimo before living on the street, was walking towards Long Lake with a shopping cart the evening of July 10.

That’s when a stranger drove up to him and asked if he was Charles Salter and when he replied ‘yes,’ the attack began.

Salter says he was hit by the car sending him to the ground and then the car drove onto him.

“The car just jumped up on my leg and I was laying there,” Salter recalled. “Out came out the arm and the pepper spray and I could feel it building up on the side of my face, had my eyes closed and right then I blacked out. I guess from the pain from the leg itself being pinned under the car.”

It didn’t end there.

Salter says he’s been told by witnesses that the car drove down to a nearby park turned around and came back.

“[The car] aimed himself at me and ran me straight over solidly on the way out and pulled over, jumped out and kicked the living piss out of me while I was already laying there limp, dead,” he said.

Salter says he awoke to find himself in a Victoria hospital and was there for five weeks prior to his release.

Police have yet to charge anyone with the attack but in late July they released a picture of a suspect car they were seeking to identify.

Suspect vehicle picture released by Nanaimo RCMP

Nanaimo RCMP released this picture of the suspect vehicle in late July

Salter says he’s been living in fear since and feels especially vulnerable as someone who is homeless.

“I’ve never been scared in my life and I’m scared every night because of this. This guy’s still roaming around and I’ve got to find a safe place every night to be in a vantage point that I’m not going to be snuck up on and stabbed in my sleep or something,” he said.

Salter says he’d like to see the man responsible sent to jail and he hopes by sharing his story people will think twice and be compassionate to those who don’t have a home.

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Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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