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Woman stabbed in 'completely random' attack at Olive Garden: Winnipeg Police

A woman is in hospital with traumatic injuries after she was repeatedly stabbed in what police describe as a completely random and unprovoked attack.

The attack happened around 8 p.m. at an Olive Garden restaurant in the first 100 block of Reenders Drive on Thursday.

Investigators say a man went into the restaurant at 7 p.m. that evening and stayed for about an hour as a customer.

"Without warning or provocation, the suspect approached the victim and repeatedly stabbed her in the upper body, causing severe injuries, before fleeing on foot," Const. Claude Chancy, a public information officer with the Winnipeg Police Service, told media.

"The suspect and the victim are not previously known to one another, and investigators believe that the attack was completely random and unprovoked."

Chancy said the attack was violent and quick.

"This is something that is random in nature, something that could not have been predicted, and something you could not have been ready for," he said.

A spokesperson for Olive Garden confirmed to CTV News that it was an employee who was injured in the stabbing.

“We are thankful that our team member is expected to make a full recovery, and we are grateful to the first responders who responded so quickly,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“Our focus is on supporting our injured team member and all team members in the restaurant. We will continue to assist local authorities with their investigation.”

The company said the restaurant would be open for normal business hours.

Police say the suspect was found a few blocks away in the 1500 block of Regent Avenue and arrested after a brief struggle. Police say he had a knife with him when he was arrested.

The victim in the attack, an 18-year-old woman, was taken to hospital in unstable condition, but her condition has since been upgraded. Chancy said there were Good Samaritans who witnessed the stabbing and helped the woman until emergency crews arrived.

"We certainly would like to thank those Good Samaritans that approached and selflessly helped the victim, because these injuries were quite traumatic injuries that needed immediate emergency assistance," he said.

Shawn Jeffrey, CEO of Manitoba Restaurant & Foodservices Association says violence in restaurants is rare.

"It’s about hospitality its about having fun and enjoying yourself,” Jeffery said. “To have something of this nature to happen inside of a restaurant it's pretty much unheard of."

He says concerns of violence in restaurants are rising.

“I think we are doing everything we can but I am hearing that the new trend is that our industry is having to hire security guards and additional security for this."

Ron Christensen has lived in the area for almost 50 years. He says while property crime is common - violence is not.

"It is in the area but I guess it's all over.” he said. "Just like everything else it's a concern but I'm ok here."

Christensen says he feels safe in the neighbourhood - despite the recent violence.

Police say Robert Alan Ingram, 27, is facing charges of aggravated assault, possession of a weapon, and failure to comply with a probation order. The charges against him have not been proven in court.

Ingram had been previously arrested in 2020 for 14 separate fires, including at St. Boniface Hospital. He was charged with 18 counts of arson with damage to property.

- With files from CTV's Taylor Brock Top Stories


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