Victoria man facing long road to recovery after unprovoked attack


WATCH: A Victoria man violently assaulted in an unprovoked attack in downtown Victoria over the weekend is facing a long road to recovery. Tess van Straaten reports.

Bryan Rowley had a bright future ahead of him, working full-time and doing his masters in community development at the University of Victoria.

“It’s truly a tragedy,” says Rowley’s friend Tom Pike. “Bryan is out there trying to help people. He volunteers ? I couldn’t think of a worse person for this to happen to.”

But for the last five days, the 28-year-old been in a hospital bed fighting for his life.

“It was pretty intense,” says Rowley’s twin brother, Rick Rowley. “I think the scariest part was at the beginning of it, they weren’t sure if it could have been life-threatening.”

Rowley was out with Pike and another friend when he was violently attacked behind the Strathcona Hotel complex early Saturday morning.

“A man hit him and then he fell and hit his head on the pavement and then he went unconscious,” Rick Rowley says. “It was completely unprovoked. The witnesses and bouncers involved did not see any type of verbal exchange.”

Rowley was rushed to hospital in critical condition. A suspect was taken into custody a short time later and remains in custody as police continue to investigate the incident.

“It’s very serious,” says Const. Matt Rutherford of the Victoria Police Department. “We don’t usually see these unprovoked assaults on people in the downtown core and the gentleman still remains in hospital, so it is very serious.”

Doctors have told the family Rowley has a brain contusion and there’s a long road to recovery ahead ? likely 12 to 18 months. As a result of, his twin brother has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the financial burden.

“We still don’t know how much independence he’ll be able to have but it’s going to take awhile,” says Rick Rowley. “All the support everyone has shown and love and donations has literally kept me going.”

The incident is raising questions about safety downtown late at night and in the early morning hours, especially on weekends, but police say the city is safe.

“Downtown’s a safe place but people need to be aware of their surroundings,” Cst. Rutherford says. “Be careful and be vigilant when you’re downtown.”

As Rowley and his family deal with this life-changing ordeal, they’re just hoping people realize how quickly their world can be turned upside down.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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