Not even a week after being released from hospital following open-heart surgery to treat a stab wound to the chest, a 21-year-old Campbell River father has been stabbed again.
“It’s unfathomable, but we’re living it,” said Jen Fyfe, cousin of the victim Colin Dube-Wheat.
“It’s more than shocking for me. How could there be two stabbings in two weeks? I can’t totally answer that because I think it’s statistically absurd.”
Dube-Wheat was first attacked in the early morning of July 14 in downtown Campbell River. His family says he was stabbed after hearing someone yell for help.
“Someone was having an overdose, and as he walked up to someone on the ground, he was stabbed in the chest twice,” Fyfe told CHEK News on July 24.
He was airlifted to Victoria General Hospital for open heart surgery and later released on July 22.
Six days after being released on July 28, while visiting a friend’s house Dube-Wheat was attacked again. His family says this time, he was attacked with a knife by his friend’s roommate.
“Colin had been sitting there looking at his phone, and he felt someone looking at him,” Fyfe told CHEK News.
“All of a sudden, that guy started stabbing him in the neck. Colin screamed and ran and the guy chased him. Colin fought but couldn’t stop him and asked, ‘Why are you doing this?’ And the guy was just gone. Colin said there was nothing there and said he was saying crazy things like ‘he needs to be sacrificed,’ ‘he’s the one.'”
In a news release, RCMP called the attack “attempted murder.” They said Dube-Wheat was stabbed multiple times by the suspect, who was known to him, and agreed that drugs were a believed factor in the attack.
Christopher Carlos Rendall, 22, was arrested in the attack, facing charges of attempted murder and resisting arrest.
Dube-Wheat had been telling the story of how he’d been stabbed two weeks before, the family believes Rendall was inspired to attack Dube-Wheat under a drug-induced psychosis.
As a result of the attack, Dube-Wheat was once again rushed into life-saving surgery.
“He had to have hours of neck surgery. They had to tie his jugular vein off, it had a hole in it,” said Fyfe.
The two attacks back-to-back have left his family reeling, only to be made worse by what’s being said online.
“We knew Colin wasn’t doing drugs or in the drug scene, but the court of public opinion came at us pretty hard,” said Fyfe.
Some who had initially been sympathetic and generously donating to a GoFundMe became suspicious of the back-to-back stabbings, demanding their donations back. Fyfe says it was an easy decision to refund people’s money, but resents the accusations that she says aren’t true.
“It’s pretty hard when people make a snap judgment about someone trying their darndest to stay on the right side of the tracks, while living nearby the wrong side,” said Fyfe.
“When people came to us so angry and saying how we’d done something really wrong … That he could be into drugs and, therefore, that it’s all OK. That it’s fine he gets stabbed twice? I think it’s a good opportunity to think about that thinking and ask why are we OK with that?” said Fyfe.
For Dube-Wheat, a father to a 2-year-old girl, his focus is on healing physically and mentally. According to Fyfe he’s already walking and talking but likely has a long road to recovery ahead.
“He’s super traumatized, and his body’s ravaged, so it’s the beginning of a really long haul for him,” added Fyfe.