It was a sight he said he’ll never forget — a young man on the ground near his doorstep, blood oozing from his neck and struggling for breath.
“It was bad,” he said. “He was covered in blood and couldn’t speak. He was fading fast and then wasn’t responding anymore.”
In agreeing to speak with The Telegram, the man said he didn’t want to be identified, but gave details about what happened Tuesday evening outside the boarding house where he lives and works at 129 Bond St. in downtown St. John’s.
“It’s such a tragedy,” he said after hearing the news Wednesday morning that the 23-year-old man who was injured had succumbed to his injuries and died. “I was so emotional. I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. It was just so hard.”
The man — who said he was the building’s key holder responsible for looking after things when the manager is not there — said that around 5:45 p.m. he spotted about five men on the parking lot in the back of the building, and when he went out, they took off.
“He was covered in blood and couldn’t speak. He was fading fast and then wasn’t responding anymore.” — Witness
About 45 minutes later, he said, he was in his room in the back of the house when he heard what sounded like a gunshot.
He immediately went to view the screens from the many surveillance cameras on the property, he said, and saw a commotion with a group a people, about five of them, at the front of the house.
“Everyone was panicking,” he said, noting the cameras didn’t catch where the event started.
He said one man was holding a gun and was screaming for help. The injured man came to the front door, but it was locked.
“He was coming for help,” said the man, who decided initially not to go outside after seeing the gun. “His hand was holding his neck. … I don’t know if he was shot or stabbed.”
The injured man, he said, moved to the back of the house and, while on the ground, was being tended to by two women, who were trying to stop the bleeding from his neck.
The man said he opened the door, gave them a towel and called police. He said the man who had been holding the gun — who he figured was the injured man’s friend — was crying.
By the time officers arrived five or 10 minutes later, he said, the man who had been holding the gun and the others had disappeared. The two women, who had also called police, stayed with the victim as they applied pressure to his neck with the towel, he said.
He said he didn’t see what any of the men looked like, as he was focusing on the man who was injured. But he said a few residents recognized two of the people in the group — one woman and one man — who had lived at the house a few months ago.
With so much blood covering the victim’s face, he said, he didn’t get a good look at him, either.
“I was trying to help him, telling him to wait and help is coming,” he said. “I wish I could have helped him.”
Telegram photographer Keith Gosse, who was at the scene shortly after it happened, reported seeing a large pool of blood in the area where the man had been lying. Paramedics from Eastern Health were seen performing CPR on the victim before he was taken away by ambulance.
A handgun was on the ground and was recovered by police. The man who lived at the house said the police later told him the gun found at the scene was not a real gun, just one that made a sound.
There was also a cellphone on the ground just a few feet away from the gun. Police cordoned off the area and spoke to witnesses.
“I hope they catch (whoever is responsible),” said the man, who gave a statement to police and handed over the surveillance videos to them.
At a news briefing at RNC headquarters Wednesday morning, Const. James Cadigan confirmed the victim’s age, but said the cause of death is still being determined in association with the chief medical examiner. His identity is being withheld.
Police are asking anyone with CCTV or dash cam footage to contact them to assist in the investigation.