Serba remains in critical condition

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(Host) A Norwich University student remains in critical condition at a Toronto hospital after a weekend attack left him gravely injured.

Police say twenty five year old Michael Serba was accosted early Saturday morning near a bar in downtown Toronto where he had gone with friends.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports:

(Zind) As Serba clings to life in a Toronto hospital police there are trying to piece together the chain of events that led to the attack.

Serba was with friends at a downtown bar located in a middle class neighborhood when he left to withdraw cash from a nearby ATM. When he returned, he told his companions that he had been assaulted. Serba and his companions then went in search of the assailant.

Detective Constable Daniel Saleh of the Toronto police explains what happened next.

(Saleh) “Michael got separated from his group and he came across the suspect who assaulted him, using a blunt object. The strike was such that he fell down immediately and the assault continued. The accused made good his escape by jumping into a cab.”

(Zind) Saleh says witnesses chased the cab and stopped it just a few blocks away at about the same time the police arrived in response to a 911 call.

The cab’s passenger, 22-year-old Nicholas Crowdis of Toronto was arrested. Crowdis appeared in court Monday on charges of attempted murder.

Authorities say he has no adult criminal record, but does have a juvenile record, although the details are sealed.

Meanwhile, Saleh says, Serba’s condition is grave

(Saleh) “Right now it’s quite serious, critical. His family is by his side as well as an armed police officer guarding.”

(Zind) Serba graduated from Norwich University last year as an honor student, but he remained at the Northfield military academy to pursue a master’s degree in Business Administration.

As an undergraduate, he played on the school’s hockey team and served as captain last year as a senior.

Norwich Coach Mike McShane says Serba was a good competitor who always played the game clean.

(McShane) “He’s a quiet-type leader. When he said something, the kids listened and he led by example, by being early at practice, working hard on his skills and encouraging his fellow players.”

(Zind) McShane says Serba’s father called him Saturday to encourage the team to play in a scheduled tournament championship that night.

(McShane) “It was difficult. We heard about it Saturday morning and not too many people were enthusiastic about playing a hockey game, but he called me and said, ‘make sure the kids play’.”

(Zind) Serba is a native of the Toronto area and had returned home for the Thanksgiving break.

Authorities say they are still trying to locate witnesses to the assault and they’re going over video from several surveillance cameras in the area in hopes of turning up more evidence.

For VPR News I’m Steve Zind.

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