Saturday, September 1, 2012

IS HE EX-REGINA PAT of 1958-60 !

No not the same PERSON

Scott Watson is being heralded as a hero after tackling a disturbed man while riding Skytrain.

  Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann , PNG

A Chilliwack man is being commended for his role in subduing a disturbed man who head-butted a passenger, spat in a girl's face and screamed death threats onboard a SkyTrain in Vancouver Sunday.

Scott Watson and his daughter were on the train following the B.C. Lions game. According to Watson, the man was quiet when he boarded the eastbound train, packed with people leaving the football game, at Main Street station.

"As soon as the train starts moving, he starts babbling," Watson said, adding the man was yelling racist and homophobic slurs and death threats. "His ranting escalated and then . . . it just went crazy."

Suddenly and without provocation, the man turned to a passenger and head-butted him, leaving him bleeding on the ground. He then spat in the face of a woman who was standing right beside him.

Watson, who had been standing on the crowded train, immediately hit the on-board safety alarm to notify transit police and positioned himself between his daughter and the deranged man.

"The trip between Main and Broadway [stations] is three minutes and it just seemed like forever," Watson recalled. "But as soon as the train started slowing, I thought, 'It's now or never.'"

Fearing the man might cause more injury to those waiting on the platform, Watson tackled and held him just as the train's doors opened.

The pair swung to the right and Watson held the man against the side of the train with his forearm under the man's chin. A second passenger helped to hold him down.

The violent man continued to struggle and fight with police as he was being arrested. Grant Christopher Stewart, who has no fixed address, now faces five charges including assault causing bodily harm, common assault, uttering threats, obstruction of a peace officer and causing a disturbance. The 31-year-old was expected to appear in court Tuesday and a psychiatric assessment has been ordered.

While transit police were at the ready, Const. Miles Teitelbaum, a transit officer on scene, said Watson's quick actions onboard helped resolve the incident safely.

"I hesitate to speak for all police but having somebody who held the individual for us did help," he said. "Police don't like people to put themselves in harm's way for that reason . . . but obviously, it helped to have members of the public who were involved point out the individual and in this case, hold him for us."

As for Watson, who only takes the SkyTrain once or twice a year, Sunday's events remain "surreal" and he still isn't sure what compelled him to jump into action.

"Afterward, it was like, 'What did I do here?' I'm not one to get involved if at all possible," he said, noting it must have been adrenalin or a parental instinct that took over since he's had three back surgeries and isn't very active.