News / Edmonton

Edmonton man who witnessed deadly LRT beating plans to launch anti-bullying campaign

More than three months after Manwar Khan witnessed, and tried to stop, a deadly beating on the LRT, the “horrifying situation” still haunts him.

He thinks about the savage assault every day. He has trouble sleeping. He questions what he would have done differently if he could “rewind” to December 28.

A simple LRT ride turned into a shocking and life-changing experience for Khan and as a result of what happened in late December, he’s decided to launch an “anti-bullying/say no to bystanders” campaign, scheduled for the end of April.

“What happened on the LRT was an extreme form of bullying,” Khan said.

On Dec. 28, Khan left work early to take his two-year-old twins to a doctor’s appointment. He took the Clareview bound LRT from the Corona station.

His ride was interrupted near Stadium station when two men began fighting. When Khan saw blood on one man’s face, he realized “it was getting serious.”

Khan noticed the victim wasn’t fighting back. He imagined his own son, in 20 years, in the victim’s shoes.

“Somebody needs to help,” he thought.

He pushed the train’s emergency button. He shouted and screamed. He told the assailant he was a provincial employee and asked him to step back from the victim.

Khan asked the other passengers on the train for help. By the time a young man came forward, the train stopped at Belvedere station.

All of the passengers, including Khan, got off the train. The broad-daylight attack raged on as the train continued to Clareview station, where police and first aid were close by.

John Hollar, 29, eventually succumbed to his injuries and died in hospital. Jeremy Newborn, 29, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Khan was labeled a hero after the incident. He’s received e-mails and letters from dozens of people, including the premier, who commended him for his actions.

“I don’t feel like I’m an LRT hero…I tried, but I couldn’t save that guy,” said Khan, who works in human services for the government.

After thinking about his own two children and receiving encouragement from his father, a businessman in Bangladesh, Khan was motivated to launch an anti-bullying initiative.

He’s in the midst of planning a launch event for the end of April and hopes to educate people about bullying and the role bystanders have when witnessing violence.

“Bystanders are powerful,” he said. “We just don’t know we’re powerful.”

Khan plans to distribute information about bullying at the launch and is keen to hear from local organizations looking to play a part in the event.

He will be inviting the public to the launch and is hoping it will be the first of many anti-bullying events.

“I will not stop,” he said.

 Factbox:

  • The Dec. 29 deadly beating was the first homicide on Edmonton’s LRT in its 34-year history.
  • Khan is a father-of-two who moved to Canada from Bangladesh in 2001 to study computer science at the University of Lethbridge.
  • Stay tuned to Metro for more information on Khan’s “anti-bullying/say no to bystanders” campaign, including a confirmed launch date expected later this week.

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