At 12:01 p.m. on July 30, 2008, Tim McLean, a carnival barker, was returning home to Manitoba after working at a fair in Alberta. He departed Edmonton on board Greyhound bus 1170 to Winnipeg, via the Yellowhead Highway through Saskatchewan. He sat at the rear, one row ahead of the toilet. At 6:55 p.m., the bus departed from a stop in Erickson, Manitoba, with a new passenger, Vince Weiguang Li. Li, described as a tall man in his 40s, with a shaved head and sunglasses, originally sat near the front of the bus, but moved to sit next to McLean following a scheduled rest stop. McLean “barely acknowledged” Li, then fell asleep against the window pane, headphones covering his ears.
According to witnesses, McLean was sleeping with his headphones on when the man sitting next to him suddenly produced a large knife and began stabbing McLean in the neck and chest. The bus driver pulled to the side of the road so that he and all the other passengers could exit the vehicle. The attacker then decapitated McLean and displayed his severed head to other passengers standing outside. The driver and two other men had attempted to rescue McLean but were chased away by Li, who slashed at them from behind the locked bus doors. Li then went back to McLean’s body and began severing other parts and consuming some of his victim’s flesh.
At 8:30 p.m., the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Portage la Prairie received a report of a stabbing on a Greyhound bus west of the city. They arrived to find the suspect still on board the bus, being prevented from escaping by another passenger, the bus driver, and a truck driver who had provided a crowbar and a hammer as weapons. The other passengers were huddled at the roadside, some of them crying and vomiting. As the suspect had earlier attempted to escape by driving the bus away, the driver had engaged the emergency immobilizer system, rendering the vehicle inoperable. Witnesses had observed the suspect stabbing and cutting McLean’s body, and carrying McLean’s severed head.
By 9:00 p.m., police were in a standoff with the suspect and had summoned special negotiators and a heavily armed tactical unit. The suspect alternately paced the length of the bus and defiled the corpse. Police officers then observed Li eating parts of the body. Meanwhile, the stranded passengers were transported from the scene to be interviewed at the Brandon RCMP detachment. RCMP officers reportedly heard Li say, “I have to stay on the bus forever.”
On July 31, 2008, at 1:30 a.m., the suspect attempted to escape from the bus by breaking through a window. The RCMP arrested Li soon afterward. He was shot with a Taser twice, handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser. Parts of the victim’s body, placed in plastic bags, were retrieved from the bus, while his ear, nose and tongue were found in Li’s pockets. The victim’s eyes and a part of his heart were never recovered and are presumed to have been eaten by Li.