Canadian Man Paralyzed After Alleged Anti-Gay Crime
A gay man from Canada has been paralyzed after being attacked in an alleged hate crime on Oct. 12, CBC News reports.
Scott Jones, 27, is currently in critical but stable condition at a hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia, after being stabbed twice in the back and having his throat slashed. According to Jones' friend Amy Punke, she and Jones were out with friends celebrating the opening of a friend's art studio. She didn't witness the attack, however, but has been speaking to Jones about the incident. The attack took place around 2:30 a.m.
Jones later told Punke that the suspects (both men) were at a bar he was at. They approached Jones and his friend, one of the men distracted Jones' friend and the other man grabbed Jones from behind and whispered something in his ear. He then stabbed him in the back twice and slashed his throat, according to Punke. Jones told Punke he doesn't know what the man whispered.
The injury to Jones' throat was superficial, but the stabbing severed his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, CBC reports.
Police from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, arrested Shane Edward Matheson, 19, on Saturday night in connection with Jones' attack. Matheson has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public place, according to CBC. Matheson is facing another charge of assault with a weapon for an incident against an 18-year-old woman. According to New Glasgow Police Const. Ken Macdonald, the charge is unrelated to Jones' attack.
Jones' friends to the CBC they believe he was attacked because he is gay.
"Myself, and his family and the people that know him, we feel that he may have been targeted because of the fact that he's gay - and he's openly gay in town," Punke told CBC. Punke also spoke with UPI about the incident and shared similar sentiments, saying, "He's very open about his sexuality," she said. "Just the nature of the evening and the people that we were with and the fact that he was targeted out of all of us."
Jason Cormier, Jones' sister's fiancée, told the Chronicle Herald Jones was attacked because of his sexual orientation.
Police have not stated if the attacked is a hate crime and said they are still speaking with witnesses.
Matheson is in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.