Winnipeg police say a man who met a woman online and went to meet her in person was violently beaten, stabbed and robbed by three people in an attack that was broadcast live on social media.
The unidentified man was lucky that someone watching the livestream called police, who got to the scene while the suspects were still there, police said Tuesday.
“We had somebody on social media who saw the video, who actually recognized where the video was being recorded … and phoned the police,” Const. Tammy Skrabek said.
“When (officers) arrived, the suspects were still there. They were able to find the victim and get him the medical attention he required.”
Skrabek said investigators were still working out the details of the crime that occurred Saturday inside a home, including a motive and any connections between the people involved.
An 18-year-old male, a 17-year-old girl and a 44-year-old woman face a variety of charges including aggravated assault, forcible confinement and extortion.
The victim was taken to hospital in unstable condition but was later upgraded to stable.
“The victim in this case is very fortunate,” Skrabek said. “His injuries were rather severe … We don’t know whether he would have been able to get to a hospital, whether he would have gotten treatment.”
She wouldn’t say where exactly the alleged assault was broadcast.
The live-streaming of violent attacks is an emerging trend, Skrabek added — one that requires public attention.
“What we’re going to have to hope for in the future is that, when these kind of things happen, is that people don’t assume that it’s an old video or a made-up video — that these are live videos and to contact the police when they do see something as alarming as this was.”
Last month, police in Chicago were alerted after the fact to the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that had been broadcast live on Facebook. The live video was watched by 40 people, none of whom called police, according to media reports.
The girl’s mother later told The Associated Press that friends of her daughter sent her screen-grab photos of the attack, which she then brought to police.
The Winnipeg victim had first connected with a woman through a dating website, Skrabek said. He then made arrangements to meet her Saturday when he was attacked.