(Ash Quewezance and his wife Haley Sylvester/GoFundMe)

Last Sunday, Ashley (Ash) Quewezance tried to stop an attacker from bear spraying his neighbour. The suspect turned on him.

Now, Quewezance is lying in a hospital with stab wounds to his throat.

His family members say he will need to be monitored for up to 50 days, causing significant emotional distress and loss of financial support for his family.

It all happened last Sunday, December 6, at around 5:45 p.m. in the 100-block of Gorge Road East.

In an interview with Victoria Buzz, Quewezance’s wife Haley Sylvester says the incident started when her husband went outside with her son, Richard Daniels, to smoke some cigarettes.

“They were sitting on my husband’s truck when the neighbour drove up,” said Sylvester.

“He parked his car and then he walked over to [my husband and son] and said ‘Hey can you guys watch my vehicle? That guy just hit my car with a 2×4, and I’m worried he’ll try and break the window or vandalize my car’.”

While the neighbour was still talking to the pair, the man he was referring to walked over to the group, pulled out bear spray and started spraying the neighbour in the face. Quewezance tried to stop the attacker.

At that point, Sylvester says the suspect turned on her husband and son and started spraying them instead.

“My son couldn’t see, so he was trying to make it back across the road to get me,” she recounts, referring to the fact that she herself was inside her apartment at this point.

“My husband called him to come back to him, so my son made it back to my husband and my husband told him ‘I’ve been stabbed’.”

Sylvester says Quewezance took the knife out of his throat himself, while her son and neighbour pressed a T-shirt to his wound.

The commotion and yelling drew Sylvester out of her apartment.

“When I opened the door, I could hear my son yelling ‘Mom! Mom!,” said Sylvester, holding back tears.

A long road to recovery

Initially, Quewezance was taken to Victoria General Hospital, where his wife was allowed to visit him.

But the serious nature of his injuries prompted physicians to transport him to Royal Jubilee Hospital. As a designated COVID-19 care site, family members are not allowed to visit.

“He still has a tube in his throat where the injury is but when he wants to talk, he writes on a paper to communicate,” said Sylvester.

“Two specialists are watching him. They’re worried that he might get pneumonia because of where his injury is—right above the bone, below his throat.”

Before his injuries, Quewezance worked as a roofer. But now, doctors say he may need to be hospitalized for up to 50 days.

According to Sylvester, her husband has been fighting for a faster recovery. He stopped taking pain medication, believing his injuries would heal faster that way.

But even when Quewezance is discharged from the hospital, the family expects he will be out of work for the next four to eight months.

“Like everybody else we have bills. Our phone bills, rent, cable, internet, truck payments, gas—it’s things that I’m not thinking about but it’s not gonna stop,” said Sylvester.

“When [Quewezance] was writing on the paper on Monday [while Facetiming], that was one of his worries: rent. And I just told him not to worry about anything… I just want him to concentrate on getting better and coming home to me.”

To help with these expenses, the family has created a GoFundMe page trying to raise $7,000.

As of the time of publication, the fundraiser has nearly reached that goal, attaining around $6,700.

Catching the culprit

After the incident occurred, Victoria Police sent out a statement saying the suspect had fled to a nearby multi-unit temporary housing facility in the same block.

Police say he was found, arrested and transported to cells to face charges. In a subsequent statement, they admitted they caught the wrong person.

“The man was transported to cells and after additional investigation he is now considered a person of interest, and not a suspect. He is not facing charges for this incident,” reads the new statement.

While the person they initially caught was not the person accused of stabbing Quewezance, he remains in police custody for an unrelated warrant after failing to attend court in relation to a robbery and breach of probation charge.

The suspect in this incident remains at large, and police are still searching for him.

He is described as a 20 to 30-year-old white man who, at the time of the incident, was wearing a dark hooded sweater and a dark baseball hat or toque.

Anyone who has information about the suspect’s identity is asked to call VicPD at (250) 995-7654, extension 1.

Concerns about the suspect being at large plague Sylvester and her son, but all they can do at the moment is hope for Quewezance’s speedy recovery.

“I’m just taking it minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day right now,” she added.

Subscribe to the Victoria Buzz newsletter to receive the latest news, events and more directly to your inbox. Every day.