Winnipeg police charge 22-year-old in fatal stabbing of bus driver
Brian Kyle Thomas faces charges of second-degree murder, possessing a weapon and failing to comply with probation.
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Security camera footage and witness accounts have given Winnipeg police a clearer picture of what led to the fatal stabbing of a city bus driver early Tuesday morning.
The investigation to date has resulted in second-degree murder charges against Brian Kyle Thomas, a 22-year-old Winnipegger who has had previous police involvement.
Initial information released following the Feb. 14 murder of Winnipeg Transit operator Irvine Jubal Fraser stated the driver was alone with one passenger when he reached the end of his route shortly before 2 a.m. Not long after, he was mortally wounded and police arrested a male suspect nearby.
On Wednesday, Winnipeg Police spokesperson Const. Jason Michalyshen filled in some of the blanks.
He told reporters that after Fraser stopped his bus on the University of Manitoba campus, he advised the lone occupant, allegedly Thomas, they had reached the end of the line.
At that time, the suspect, who had been “somewhere near the back” of the bus, went to the front and “indicated he did not wish to exit.”
Things escalated from that point, as Thomas was “obviously confrontational,” according to police.
“After repeated requests by Fraser, the occupant was escorted off,” Michalyshen said.
He described this part of the interaction as a “gentle way of taking hold of the individual and escorting him off the bus,” adding the passenger’s persistent refusal to comply and confrontational reaction escalated the situation until it “erupted.”
“A verbal argument continued, resulting in a physical altercation outside the bus, when a knife was produced and Fraser was stabbed multiple times in the upper body.
“Fraser collapsed, and Thomas fled the immediate area on foot.”
Michalyshen explained much of that account “has been obtained through (security camera) video,” but that police have also “spoken to a number of witnesses that were in the area.”
Members of the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) canine unit were also nearby, and responded “very quickly” as multiple 911 calls flagged the altercation as a significant weapon incident.
“They were there within minutes,” Michalyshen said.
Witnesses pointed officers in the direction the apparent assailant had fled in, and soon police arrested someone on the frozen Red River.
Meanwhile, first responders attended to Fraser’s stab wounds and he was rushed to the hospital.
“Sadly, even due to the efforts of emergency personnel, he couldn’t be saved,” Michalyshen said.
The investigation is ongoing as homicide detectives and the WPS forensics team continue to review the incident.
“This is just day two,” Michalyshen said.