An Ontario man in Kelowna studying to become a commercial diver, is in a medically induced coma struggling to come back from injuries incurred during a random beating.
Video surveillance footage from the downtown bar O’Flannigan’s—outside where the attack took place—shows the 34-year-old walking by several men around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, when things went seriously awry.
At least three men started attacking the man, whose name has yet to be released. He eventually goes unconscious, yet the beating doesn’t stop until a police officer goes by and breaks it up, sending the assailants running.
“We have video surveillance that shows it’s unprovoked,” said Const. Kris Clark, stressing that the investigation into the attack is still in its infancy.
“This was a very violent and tragic assault which appeared to have been unprovoked.”
Instructors and students at Diving Dynamics, where the victim has been studying for the last seven weeks are reeling from the tragic turn of events.
“During the academic portion of his training this gentleman would show up at 7:30 a.m. to meet me here before class to go over operations … he did not miss a day,” said Vern Johnston of Diving Dynamics, the school the beaten man was attending..
“He found a passion and it’s been taken away from him.”
Johnston has been in hospital to see his student, and said that although he’s in the medically induced coma, chances for recovery are quite strong.
His view of Kelowna, however, is shaken.
“This really is a human tragedy,” he said. “Our school would like to make sure young people in Kelowna aren’t naive about how downtown Kelowna is— it’s dangerous.”
Suspects scattered when police came upon them beating the Ontario man, but they were apprehended shortly thereafter.
Rick Dennis, 26, and Daniel Orge, 27, have been charged with Aggravated Assault and remain in custody. A third 25 year old is also in custody.
All three suspects are scheduled to appear in Court Tuesday.
The Ontario man is in critical condition. His mother is flying in from Ottawa to be with him.
Police are asking if anyone has any information that they call the RCMP office at 250-762-3300. Information can also be called in anonymously, through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.