The kitchen at the Red Lion Inn had "blood everywhere" on Saturday, says an employee who helped tend to the wounds of four of five stab victims at the hotel.
Saturday night was expected to be busy for kitchen staff at the three businesses in the complex on Douglas Street, but the string of attacks that sent five people to hospital came seemingly out of the blue.
Surveillance videos and witness testimonies indicate none of the victims provoked the man who ran through the building stabbing employees, said Sgt. Chris Horsley.
Ron Schinners works in the kitchen, preparing food for both the Fox Showroom Pub and V-Lounge Sports Bar and Grill. He and his crew share a split kitchen with cooks from the Jade Fountain Restaurant.
"It's a great place to work, but I'm freaked out by the whole thing," said Schinners, who started work at 2 p.m. that day, preparing food for the popular Ultimate Fighting Championship on pay-per-view at the V-Lounge upstairs.
At about 4 p.m., one of the Jade Fountain employees ran to Schinners' side of the kitchen, holding his hand to a hole in his chest, saying he was stabbed while sleeping in the dining room.
Schinners barely had time to hold a towel to the wound before two other staff came in with wounds to their arms. A fourth person had a cut on his back, possibly near his neck.
"It's freaky, because all these people are getting stabbed and you don't know what's going on," he said. "You see four people randomly stabbed, you think: 'Is there a psycho on the loose or what?' "
Police later confirmed two men were stabbed in the restaurant before the attacker went into the kitchen, stabbed a third, came back to the restaurant to stab a fourth and then ran upstairs, where he stabbed a front desk clerk.
The Jade employees were in the closed restaurant, which shuts down in the afternoon while kitchen staff prepare for the dinner rush. The man who was stabbed in his abdomen yelled, "Someone stabbed me for sleeping," said Schinners, who has worked in the kitchen for six months.
Staff in the two kitchens typically help each other whenever either side gets busy, said Schinners, who has several home videos of the staff goofing around and teasing each other.
Without knowing if the attacker was still on the loose, Schinners said, he ran to the Fox and then V-Lounge, telling everyone to shut down.
By the time he got back to the kitchen, police had arrived.
The maze-like building, with a hotel, two bars, a restaurant, liquor store and offices, was difficult to navigate, say Saanich police officers, who were on the scene immediately.
Police arrested Zhi Wei Meng, 54, part owner of the Red Lion, after kicking in the locked door of his office. Meng faces five charges of aggravated assault.
Schinners said he will not return to work and has been traumatized by the experience.
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