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Saskatoon woman slashed twice in confrontation with machete-wielding youth


A Saskatoon woman is recovering after a harrowing incident in front of a city library in September.

Maggie May Gregorash says she was walking near the Dr. Freda Ahenakew Library, just off 20th Street on Avenue K South, when she saw a fight break out in front of the building.

When one of the assailants pulled out a machete and started heading toward the entrance to the library, 29-year-old Gregorash said instinct took over.

"The machete was about 15 inches. It was huge. And I just; all I thought was, there's people by that door there's people in that place and I don't want anybody to get hurt. So I distracted him and I ended up getting sliced twice," she said.

The machete struck her on her side, and again in the hand, cutting four tendons.

When police arrived, she walked herself to the hospital, dripping blood. She says the police didn’t see her slip away — she just knew she needed medical attention.

Later that day, a plastic surgeon reattached the tendons and she was put in a splint.

The gravity of the situation started to sink in while she was in hospital.

"When I got to the hospital after, like when they had me in the trauma unit and they were looking at my hand, it just hit me that like, wow, I did that," she said.

"It was pure adrenaline. I just ran towards it."

The machete struck her on her side, and again in the hand, cutting four tendons. (Rory MacLean / CTV News)

The Saskatoon Police Service said a teen boy was arrested in connection with the incident.

Police say they received reports around 4 p.m. on Sep. 12 that a boy was swinging a machete at people in the area. They believe he may have been “under the influence of an intoxicant.”

Officers arriving on scene found a 16-year-old boy with a machete who matched the suspect's description, police said.

The teen faces charges for aggravated assault, possession of a dangerous weapon, obstruction and breach of court orders.

Gregorash only learned of the boy's age while speaking with CTV News.

"I just didn’t know he was that young," said Gregorash. "That breaks my heart."

A spokesperson for the Saskatoon Public Library told CTV News no one entered the building during the altercation and that library staff locked the doors until the police arrived.

According to a February survey from the union representing about 650 library workers in the province, many urban library staff are accustomed to witnessing violence at work.

CUPE Saskatchewan president Judy Henley says library workers often contend with violence, mental health and addiction issues in the workplace issues because they are one of the few accessible public spaces available.

“It’s an open space; a public service, and it’s an area where people can have access to a warm building,” said Henley, whose union represents public library workers in Saskatchewan.

In Saskatoon, two library branches were forced to close to the public for two weeks in February 2022 because staff no longer felt safe at work.

Henley says the issue really underlines the lack of social supports and it’s putting more than just library workers at risk.

“It’s not just workers, but it’s everybody that goes into a library that could be faced with something that happens.”

Gregorash says the incident has pushed her to move out of the neighbourhood. After it happened, she wasn’t comfortable even leaving the house for a few days, she said.

Standing at the scene of the assault on Thursday, Gregorash said that just being there felt like “a big step.” Top Stories

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