A 25-year-old man from Saskatoon is dead after a violent beating at a Manitoba bowling alley over the weekend.
Family said the victim, Zackary Straughan, died Monday afternoon after being put on life support at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg.
He leaves behind three children and a girlfriend who is eight-weeks pregnant.
On Tuesday, Ashley Hague said Straughan had been working in Manitoba.
“Everything was fine and he was talking with his co-workers. I was sending him pictures of my belly. And then all of the sudden, he stopped talking to me. I knew something was wrong because he never stops texting me,” Hague said.
Hague said Straughan was the kind of person who would always try to please other people.
“Honestly, when he was home with me, his number one priority was to always make sure I was happy,” Hague said. “He always wanted to do anything I wanted to do. He basically based his life around helping others and making sure everyone was happy and content.”
Police were called to Valley Bowling Lanes in Winkler, located 116 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, shortly before midnight Saturday.
Officers said the fight broke out after an argument between the two men, both from Saskatoon as part of a work crew, over unpaid debt.
Family said the amount was $16.
“Our hearts go out to the family whose loved one was the victim of a senseless assault Saturday night,” said Rick Hiebert, Winkler chief of police, in a news release Sunday.
Straughan was beaten unconscious with a pool cue.
The first police officer arriving on scene immediately began CPR, while others began to search for the suspect.
According to police, a witness called 911 and followed the fleeing assailant, leading officers directly to his location at a 7-Eleven where the man was arrested minutes after the attack.
Justin Leslie Bird, 29, remains in custody at the Winnipeg Remand Centre.
His next court appearance is scheduled for Morden Provincial Court on Oct. 11.
Investigators are in discussion with the Crown’s office regarding the possibility of upgrading charges from aggravated assault.
Police said the victim’s family has graciously consented to Straughan being considered for the organ donation program in hopes it might save the life of someone in need.
–With files from paNOW
Correction: An earlier version of this story used spelling of Zackary provided by Winkler police, who identified the victim as Zachary.