Group swarmed in downtown Ladysmith

Police investigating after new residents, tourists attacked

A Ladysmith resident says she is now afraid to walk the streets after she and her friends were swarmed and assaulted outside the Sportsman Pub May 27.Tia Simpson, 23, said the incident occurred shortly after she had gotten off work and joined her boyfriend Cody Mireault at the pub for last call.  Mireault was visiting with two of their friends, Troy and Kyle Daniels who were visiting from Calgary, Alberta with their parents, Wayne and Lynne Daniels.She said the trouble started inside the bar when a group of about 15 young individuals started giving her a hard time and words were exchanged.”I hadn’t even taken one sip of my drink when this one guy started catcalling me and I shut him down and made him look like a fool in front of his friends,” Simpson said.According to Simpson and Wayne, the youths seemed underage. To help de-fuse the building tension, Lynne said they gave up their pool table to them and things seemed to be OK until they stepped outside, where a crowd of about 20-30 were purportedly waiting.”It turned into a huge brawl, there was seven different guys beating up my boyfriend. I was getting kicked in the ribs, we were dragged across the road… It all seemed so rehearsed like it had all happened before,” Simpson said. “It was just outrageous.”“I heard them yelling ‘there’s the dad’ and I just looked over and there was three guys chasing him up the street and pounced on him,” Lynne added. “They pounded him on the back of the head and pushed him to the ground and then they were beating on him.”As a result of the fight, Wayne suffered a concussion, a fractured nose and jaw, dental damage, stitches to the head and a black eye.“I’ve never fought in my life, so I’m not a fighter, it only took three of the thugs to take me down,” he said. “Three on one? Give me a break.”Simpson said she has been a bartender for six years and has never seen an incident quite like it. Simpson and Mireault recently moved to Ladysmith from Alberta to join her mother. “Those kids were looking for a fight and it was brutal,” she said. “They beat a 50-year-old that’s old enough to be their dad. You shouldn’t hit women and you shouldn’t beat up old men. They are lucky that they didn’t kill anyone. We bought a house here and I was all excited and now I’m scared to even walk the streets.”Sportsman Pub manager Chris MacMillan arrived at the scene shortly after the fight broke out. He said while there had been an initial verbal exchange inside the bar, the fight did not break out until after the bar was closed. “I gave the police the tapes from that night and even from what I’ve seen, there was nothing,” he said. “The group from out of town were pretty much the last ones out of the bar and they walked out normal, you can’t see any aggressiveness in their walk as they’re leaving.””My poor bouncers, their job was done at 1:30 a.m. and then when everything broke out at 1:35, they went outside and went, ‘My goodness, we can’t deal with this, there’s 40 people out here’,” he added.Wayne said these incidents are not good for the town’s tourism and that he will not be returning anytime soon.“We spent a lot of money here and this happened to us,” he said. “They just wanted to have a fight with somebody and we were the people that got stuck in the middle of it.”Lynne did, however, want to thank an anonymous gentleman in his mid-20s who helped Wayne after the fight broke up.“He stayed with my husband the whole time until the ambulance came and calmed him down,” she said.Ladysmith RCMP Staff Sgt. Roger Plamondon confirmed there is currently an ongoing criminal investigation into the matter.”Two individuals have come forward in the community to make allegations of assault causing bodily harm and sexual assault,” he said. “There are a number of individuals that need to be interviewed in regards to this.”Plamondon estimated there were approximately 40 to 50 people on First Avenue when police arrived on scene and that there are follow-up interviews to be conducted.”Alcohol definitely played a factor in this and there are two serious allegations that were made and obviously we’re going to try and identify the culprit or culprits involved,” he said.Any witnesses with information on the incident can contact the Ladysmith RCMP and cite file number 228-1186.