Update: Kelowna bus stabbing victim named

Police are investigating after a man suffered fatal injuries in an altercation on a city bus Thursday evening.

Kelowna resident Tyler Jack Newton, 24, was remanded into custody following a brief court appearance on the charge of second degree murder, Monday.

Police arrested Newton Friday for the random killing of Kelowna man who was riding the bus.

The victim was identified in court as 55 year old Caesar Rosales. His online profile indicates he was a business systems analyst who was an employee of Kelowna Flight Craft.

Newton, on the other hand, has a lengthy criminal record, heavy with drug trafficking and theft charges that date back to 2008.

He most recently made the news when he and a 36-year-old Kelowna woman were captured in a stolen bait vehicle, May 8, 2013.

RCMP received a report of a bait vehicle activation in the Rutland area. E-COMM, Emergency Communications for Southwest BC, monitored the live feed and provided descriptions of the male and female suspects to police. The vehicle was driven to an area on the 200 block of Highway 33 where the suspects abandoned it. Police located the man and woman a short distance away and found them to be in possession of a stolen mountain bike, break-in tools and over 30 grams of marijuana.

For that he was sentenced to six months behind bars.

Although more is being made known about the accused in the random bus killing, there are still a number of questions about the victim.

The victim, a Kelowna man believed to be in his mid 50s, suffered from what witnesses have described as stab wounds, which he succumbed to on the floor of the bus.

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Mounties are “very certain” they know who randomly killed a Kelowna man as he rode a city commuter bus Thursday night.

At a press conference less than a day after the violent attack Supt. Nick Romanchuk offered reassurances that the threat to the public is minimal, and a suspect is in their cross-hairs. He didn’t, however, offer any insights into when arrests would be made, just saying the matter would likely be resolved soon.

The Kelowna RCMP were called some time after 6 p.m. Oct. 30 to a report of a disturbance on a city bus on Baron Road behind Dilworth Centre, located at 2339 Highway 97.

“According to witnesses, as the male suspect left the bus, he made a shoving motion toward the victim, who was also a passenger,” said Romanchuk, noting later that no words were reported to have been exchanged.

The victim, a Kelowna man believed to be in his mid 50s, suffered from what witnesses have described as stab wounds, which he succumbed to on the floor of the bus. His identity is being withheld until his next of kin have been notified of his death.

Little information about the killer, other than he’s known to police. It’s also unclear what caused him to lash out violently at who is currently believed to have been a random stranger to him.

Many of the 13 to 20 transit riders sharing the bus that night reported that the two seemed to have little prior knowledge of each other, before the altercation.

Romanchuk confirmed that the attack at this point seems random, although further information on that front could become clear as the investigation continues.

It’s a random act that forever changed local transit, said Les Milton, president of Amalgamated Transit Union.

“Kelowna transit lost its innocence last night,” he said. “We’ve been running since 1977 and we’ve never had anything like this happen before. It’s very new to us, but it brought us into the fold with Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.”

That said, he too believes transit is as safe today as it was yesterday.

There will likely be changes to security in the aftermath, although he wouldn’t speculate about what they would be.

While there is little positive to take away from the incident, Milton said the behaviour of those on the bus after the attack raises Kelowna in his esteem.

The riders, he said, showed tremendous resilience.

“The outpouring of support for the victim and the driver was just stellar,” he said, noting that they tried to save the life of the victim as he bled out on the floor.

Milton also had high praise for the police.

“I woke up this morning with a whole different perspective on the local police force than I had the day before,” he said. “I can’t believe the resources we have in this town and the kind people who we dealt with, I’m just in awe.”

Also sweeping into action is a counsellor who will help the transit driver who was on the bus that night.

“Our operator was an older gentleman… and he’s definitely shaking and his view of humanity is probably different than mind this morning,” said Milton, noting that he has hopes he’ll return to the transit service as he’s a valuable member of their team.

Anyone with any information who has yet to speak with police are asked to call the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300. Remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.