'It happened very quick': Winnipegger sucker-punched by stranger
Published Tuesday, June 27, 2017 9:49AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 27, 2017 10:10AM EDT
A Winnipeg woman is worried she may lose the sight in one of her eyes after she says she was punched in the face by a stranger.
Brittney Thomas-Ljungberg, 28, says the attack happened Sunday in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. She and her boyfriend, Mike Fox, were on their way to meet friends for lunch in Chinatown when she says a man punched her in the face, for no reason.
“This fellow walked by and it happened very quick,” Fox told CTV Winnipeg.
"At that point, I ran towards him. He kind of paused, looked a little bewildered and then took off.”
Fox briefly chased after the attacker before deciding to turn back to help Thomas-Ljungberg.
“I returned to my partner who was screaming and bleeding everywhere," he recalls.
They drove to the hospital, where doctors found that the punch had done serious damage to Thomas-Ljungberg's eye. She underwent surgery to have her cornea and eyelid stitched up, but the fate of her vision is still unclear.
"It's completely black when I look right, and everything else is pretty blurry,” Thomas-Ljungberg said, adding she can see a few things close up but nothing far away.
The assault has left the young woman’s pupil off-centre. She will be meeting with a retina specialist later in the week to learn about what more can be done. For now, she says, she’s in quite a bit of pain.
"It feels like someone took a handful of sand and put it in your eye and shut it,” she said. “…So it's not the most comfortable thing ever.”
For now, Thomas-Ljungberg remains in hospital, supported by family and friends who are hoping for a full recovery.
“It’s pretty well stalled her completely for school and work and everything else, but we'll take it one day and one moment at a time,” says her mother Jan Thomas.
Winnipeg police are investigating the alleged attack, which they say appears to be random. They say no nearby security cameras captured the incident.
Police say they are searching for a suspect who appeared to be indigenous, with short brown hair, between the age of 18 and 25.
For now Brittney Thomas-ljungberg is wearing an eyepatch and making jokes about looking like a pirate. But she says the recovery is painful.
"I wouldn't wish this on anyone in any situation,” she said.
With a report from CTV Winnipeg's Beth MacDonnell