© Photo special to The Guardian
Friends of Scott Jones believe it was a hate crime
NEW GLASGOW, N.S. – Amy Punke, a friend of a 27-year-old man who was stabbed over the weekend and left paralyzed from the waist down, says he remains positive during his recovery.
Punke was visiting Scott Jones in the hospital Sunday and said he’s doing well despite the circumstances.
“He’s completely overwhelmed with the support he’s received,” she said.
On Saturday, shortly before 2:30 a.m., New Glasgow police, while on routine patrol, noticed a man lying on the ground near the intersection of Archimedes Street and Forbes Street after being stabbed.
He was transported to local hospital and then airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.
Jones was stabbed twice in the back and treated for superficial wounds to the neck where there was an attempt to slice his throat.
Friends say his spine was severed and he has been left paralyzed by the attack. They believe he was attacked because he is gay. Police say they have no evidence to indicate it was a hate crime, but are still investigating.
Instead of dwelling on what’s happened, Jones, a choir director, wants to start a new choir in town, Punke said, with a focus on diversity.
“The choir is a place for no judgment,” she said. Although it’s still only a possibility, she said it would be a place with no discrimination.
Punke had been out with Jones the evening he was attacked.
“He’s completely overwhelmed with the support he’s received,” Amy Punke
They had been at the Acro Lounge and were leaving to go to the Roseland Cabaret.
Punke said she was already inside the cabaret during the incident. He had been walking with a male friend who was unharmed.
Punke said that she, other friends and Jones believe it was a hate crime against Jones.
She said she is speaking on behalf of him at this time and that’s the feeling everyone has.
“It was the nature of the evening and how he was singled out,” she said.
As the investigation is still in preliminary stages, police can't say if there's any indication it was a hate crime.
The New Glasgow Regional Police Service Major Crime Unit and Forensic Identification Unit are still in the process of analyzing evidence, including some found on scene.
As part of the investigation a 19-year-old Trenton man, Shane Edward Matheson, was arrested Saturday night and charged with attempted murder in the stabbing of Jones.
In addition to the attempted murder charge, the man is also charged with aggravated assault and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public. He is also charged in a separate and unrelated incident of assault with a weapon against an 18-year-old woman.
(By TC Media, New Glasgow)