Content warning: This story contains details of a graphic attack that may upset some readers.
Barclay Kelly rushed from his Nanaimo yard Friday when he heard screaming — he was the first to help a badly injured boy who had just been attacked with a baseball bat.
“He was out cold like just gone,” said Kelly, a resident of Nanaimo’s Bruce Avenue.
“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,” he recalled.
“I just did first aid on him, got him awake until the medics got here.”
Video of the violent incident at the corner of Bruce Avenue and Dundas Street just before 5 p.m. Friday quickly began circulating on social media. It shows what appears to be a teenage boy attacking another boy with a baseball bat before neighbours said the attacker fled on foot up Bruce Avenue.
On Monday, RCMP say the victim of the attack is an 18-year-old man.
The suspect allegedly hit the man with a bat, then fled on foot with a group of about four to five other teens.
“It was very shocking for this area,” said Nanaimo resident Clayton Carson, who also saw the teen lying in the street.
“Something about this just makes me so sick, like so violent,” said Shekinah Campbell, who lives nearby and heard screams from the attack.
“It sounded pretty aggressive and like someone was pretty scared,” said Campbell.
Yet Campbell said even as alarming as the attack was, no motorists stopped to help the victim.
“The thing that’s so sad about the video is how many vehicles were driving by, not helping him at all. And he’s getting hit when he was already down and couldn’t defend himself,” said Campbell.
“It looked very heinous. Especially with the video that I saw on Facebook. It didn’t look like the guy was in good shape,” said Carson.
According to Nanaimo RCMP, the victim suffered extremely serious injuries but, fortunately, did wake up in hospital Saturday. Investigators with the Major Crimes Unit were actively investigating.
RCMP say the victim of the attack had to be airlifted to a hospital in Victoria to treat his serious life-threatening injuries.
“I really hope he’s okay but based on the way he was looking, I don’t know if he’ll be the same, and he looked so young,” said Campbell.
Kelly is grateful he was able to give first aid when he did.
Police have located a vehicle associated to the assault and have seized it for forensic examination, and have identified the registered owner. No arrests have been made at this time.
“This was a vicious attack carried out in broad daylight that has shocked the community. We want to assure people that this is a priority investigation and that the investigators are focused on identifying who is responsible, and holding them accountable for their actions,” said R/Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
Anyone with information on the attack is urged to contact Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.