'Hopeful he'll return back to us': Victim in downtown Calgary random assault fights for life in hospital
The family of a man in a Calgary hospital after being assaulted downtown in a series of violent attacks last week is praying he pulls through and are looking for answers as to why it happened.
“We’re just basically seeing how he does one day to the next,” said Candice Richards.
Her younger brother, Michael Richards -- who she endearingly refers to as Mikey -- was among three people seriously injured Friday morning in what police are calling “random attacks.”
Richards says her brother, who will turn 34 in two days, suffered a brain bleed, broken jaw among other injuries and was barely recognizable when she first visited him in hospital.
“He’s not awake or able to communicate. He’s not able to open his eyes," she said. "They have him in a medically induced coma but are waking him every four hours to check his brain activity.”
Mikey is from Fort McMurray but was in Calgary visiting family at the time of the attack.
Richards was told by investigators that her brother was found bleeding badly from the head and unconscious in a bus shelter at Sixth Avenue and First Street S.W.
According to police, he was the second victim to be found, roughly 90 minutes after the first victim used the emergency button at the Fourth Street CTrain station after being slashed by someone with a machete around 3 a.m.
A third victim was found near the Peace Bridge and was taken to hospital with injuries to his hand.
Richards says she hopes to find and thank the person who found her brother and called for help.
“Whoever you are out there, just know we will forever be grateful,” she says. “I believe he was discovered because he wasn’t meant to go, he was meant to survive.”
Mikey is a member of the McMurray Métis and according to Richards, the community has been rallying behind her brother since finding out about the attack.
Richards has been told if her brother pulls through he’ll have a very long recovery including reconstruction to his face and possible speech or memory loss, though it’s too early to tell.
She and her family are currently raising funds through a GoFundMePage to support him in his hopeful recovery.
“He’s got a huge heart, he cares a lot about everybody he would help anybody in need he’s just that kind of guy he’s a big softy, we just want him back we just want him to recover," she said.
Man charged is son of CPS officer
Candice has many questions about her brother’s attacker and was shocked to learn the man charged is the son of a serving officer with the Calgary Police Service (CPS).
Conner Dery is charged with one count of aggravated assault and one count of carrying a concealed weapon.
CPS says Dery’s father recognized a CCTV image of the suspect police were searching for Friday and identified his 25-year-old son to police.
“We’re obviously very angry, hurt and confused. We don’t know why anybody would do this to Mikey because he’s harmless, he would never harm anyone,” said Richards.
At this point in the investigation, Calgary police say there are no known motives for the attacks or known similarities with the victims.
Originally a fourth victim was reported by police but investigators deemed that case to be unfounded.
Dery made his first court appearance Monday, charged with one count of aggravated assault and one count of carrying a concealed weapon. Court was told he has a brain injury. His defence lawyer tells CTV Dery is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation and is due back in court Wednesday.
So far the charges aren’t in connection with what happened to Mikey but Davison says she and her husband watched the first court appearance virtually and she hopes to find some answers through the court process as to why her brother was targeted.
Police continue to ask anyone with information about the attacks downtown on Friday to contact them at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers anonymously.
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