Mohamed Minta was sitting down to breakfast alone in the restaurant at the Fernie Super 8 Hotel on Monday morning when a stranger bid him good morning.
The 57-year-old IT technician thought little of the encounter.
Minutes later, Minta was approached from behind and stabbed in the side of the head with an unknown object, blood gushing from a wound under his ear.
The unseen attacker lunged again but Minta quickly jumped to his feet and urged a staff member to call emergency services.
“I told her ‘Call the police, call the police, and call the ambulance as well,’ because the blood was coming out,” he recalled.
“When I told the lady to call the police and ambulance, the man ran away, quickly.”
About 8 a.m., Elk Valley RCMP arrived and obtained security footage. An hour later, a suspect was arrested outside his Fernie residence, about one kilometre from the motel.
Minta said he used a towel to try to stem the blood flow while waiting for emergency services to arrive.
He was treated by paramedics at the scene before being taken to Elk Valley Hospital, where he received several stitches.
Minta is originally from the Ivory Coast in West Africa and moved to Canada in 1987 to study. He’s currently based in Calgary, Alta., and was visiting Fernie on business.
The incident has left Minta shaken and scared for his safety as the attacker’s motive is unknown. But that won’t stop him from returning to Fernie.
“Fernie is maybe a good place, but I don’t know the reason this happened to me,” he said.
Minta returned to Calgary on Tuesday as the alleged offender was appearing in the Fernie Law Courts.
Livan Chris Barnett has been charged with aggravated assault over the incident, which the Crown prosecutor described as “a random act of violence”.
A mental health assessment has been requested. Barnett was remanded in custody with a bail hearing scheduled for Dec. 6.
The RCMP continues to investigate the incident and has appealed for public assistance.
“Anyone that may have witnessed the attack or have any information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Elk Valley RCMP,” read a statement issued late Monday night.
Contact the Elk Valley RCMP at 250-425-6233. You may wish to remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.