Edmonton man dies from beating on LRT train

Credits: Ian Kucerak/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency


EDMONTON -- A seven-minute train ride has ended with one man dead and another facing a murder charge.

John "Johnny" Hollar, 29, died in a "one-sided attack" in the first-ever homicide aboard an Edmonton LRT train.

Homicide Det. Colin Derksen said Hollar was attacked and left for dead about 2 p.m. Friday on board last car of a train headed north, starting at Coliseum and ending in Clareview.

He died in hospital of his injuries on Sunday around 11:15 p.m.

Police say the fight - which involved no weapons, but combination of different types of blows- was one-sided.

"Mr. Hollar was trying to just avoid the situation and get away," Derksen said.

The LRT driver watched the horror unfold on video, communicating with the passengers in the car after passengers used emergency communication.

Ron Gabruck, director of Edmonton Transit System (ETS) operational support, said the train stopped to let passengers out at the Belvedere station, but the suspect continued his attack. The ETS call centre directed the driver to continue on to the Clareview station where police, ambulances and transit security were ready.

"Sometimes we have to make these decisions," Gabruck said. "That's the nature of our reality."

He said the driver was following protocol.

Edmonton Police Service and Edmonton Transit Service caught the suspect immediately after, police say.

"The driver came out and flagged down the first police officer and they ran together, and he was able to point (the suspect) out and then with the help of another ETS inspector security officer they arrested him," Derksen said.

Witnesses on the train did what they could to help.

"All I will say is they did what they could to keep themselves safe and alert this fellow, that there were other people and they were witnessing this and attempted to stop it, but it didn't work," Dersken said.

Despite the attack, Gabruck said the transit system is safe.

"Clearly, this was a tragic and senseless act of violence," he said.

Approximately 12 to 15 people were on the train car and police are still looking for witnesses to come forward.

Police say the suspect has a lengthy criminal history.

Jeremy Newborn, 29, is in custody and is charged with second-degree murder.

He is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 14.

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