TORONTO – Police on Friday identified the man who witnesses say stabbed and beheaded a passenger aboard a Greyhound bus traveling across the Canadian Prairies.
Sgt. Brian Edmonds said that 40-year-old Vince Weiguang Li, of Edmonton, Alberta, has been charged with second degree murder. Li is due to appear in court Friday.
The Canadian Press reported that the victim's friends identified him as Tim McLean, a 22-year-old carnival worker. Authorities have not released his name and Edmonds would not confirm his identity. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.
A Facebook group page called "R.I.P. Tim" was started after news of the attack.
Witnesses said the victim was stabbed dozens of times in the apparently unprovoked attack Wednesday night aboard the bus as it traveled a desolate stretch of the TransCanada Highway about 12 miles from Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.
They said the attacker then severed his seat mate's head, displayed it and then began cutting up the body as passengers fled in horror.
Garnet Caton, who was sitting just one seat in front of the two men, said he did not hear the two speak to each other before the attack.
"We heard this bloodcurdling scream and turned around, and the guy was standing up, stabbing this guy repeatedly," Caton said.
Caton said the driver stopped the bus when he became aware of the attack and passengers raced off. A short while later, Caton said he re-boarded along with the bus driver and a trucker who had stopped to see what was happening.
He said the suspect had the victim on the floor of the bus and "was cutting his head off" with a large hunting knife.
"When he was attacking him, he was calm," said Caton. "There was no rage or anything. He was just like a robot stabbing the guy."
The attacker turned toward them and the three men quickly left the bus, blocking the door as the attacker slashed at them through an opening. Caton said the driver disabled the vehicle after the attacker tried to drive it away.
As the three guarded the door with a crow bar and a hammer, the attacker went back to the body and calmly came to the front of the bus to show off the head, Caton said.
Cody Olmstead, another passenger, said the man "dropped the head and went back and started cutting the body." Olmstead said the man later use the head to taunt police.
Olmstead said many were watching the movie "The Legend of Zorro" when the violence erupted.
Greyhound spokeswoman Abby Wambaugh said there were 37 passengers aboard.
The victim had been on the Winnipeg, Manitoba-bound bus since Edmonton. Caton said the attacker boarded the bus in Brandon, Manitoba, about 80 miles west of Portage La Prairie.
The suspect had been on the bus about an hour and initially did not sit near the victim, Caton said. But he changed seats after a rest stop.