Kamloops bishop in intensive care after beating

By  Paul Schratz, Canadian Catholic News
  • October 25, 2010
Bishop MonroeKAMLOOPS, B.C. - Kamloops Bishop David Monroe, 69, has been removed from the Intensive Care Unit of Kamloops Royal Inland Hospital, where he continues to recover after being viciously beaten at Sacred Heart Cathedral Oct. 22.

Fr. Vincent Asomugha said on Oct. 24 that Monroe remains in intensive care in a "step-down unit." There is no indication when the bishop will be leaving the hospital. Reports said he suffered severe trauma to the face and head and other cuts and injuries.

"He recognizes people and can say his name but that is about it," Msgr. Jerry Desmond told the Vancouver Sun. "It's that serious."

The attack in the cathedral rectory took place about 10:15 p.m., and Kamloops RCMP arrested a 30-year-old man several hours later. He was to appear in court Oct. 25 to face assault-related charges.

The man is believed to be suffering from mental health issues and is not thought to have any connection with the Catholic Church, a police spokesman said.

According to police an unknown man wearing dark clothing forcibly entered the rectory of Sacred Heart Cathedral. He was confronted by Monroe, who was beaten badly with a blunt object that police believe the man picked up inside the rectory. Monroe was lying on the floor bleeding and unconscious when police arrived.

Asomugha heard the commotion and came to help but apparently fell and dislocated a shoulder. He was treated and released from hospital.

Fr. Derek Cameron was outside the building, heard the yelling and called 911. Police responded with dogs, helicopter and the Serious Crimes Unit, following a trail of blood, said Sgt. Scott Wilson. The trail and the search ended temporarily at the Thomson River, where police believe the suspect swam to the north shore.

Police found the Kamloops man at about 1 a.m. hiding in a shed on his father’s property at G&M Trailer Park.

Investigators said the suspect’s family was extremely co-operative, according to media reports. Earlier in the evening, family members had taken the suspect to the hospital over concerns that he was experiencing a psychotic episode.

The suspect smashed a window at about 8:50 p.m. and left the hospital, said Wilson. The cathedral is a short distance from the hospital.

Desmond, pastor of Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Whistler and vicar general for the diocese of Kamloops, happened to be in town for his niece’s wedding the next day, which Monroe had been scheduled to participate in. The wedding went ahead with Desmond performing the ceremony.

Desmond said he was called Friday night by Cameron who told him about the attack. Desmond said he visited the bishop, who was in bad shape, and anointed him.

Although the bishop has improved and family members have visited him, friends and parishioners are asked not to visit at this time, said Desmond.

(B.C. Catholic)

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