Man charged with murder after Chemainus stabbing

Colin John, 25 was charged with second-degree murder Tuesday following the death of a Chemainus man on May 20.

Colin John, 25 was charged with second-degree murder Tuesday following the death of a Chemainus man on May 20.

Derek Descoteau, 20, died after what police say was a stabbing. John has also been charged with the attempted murder of a 16-year-old girl from the Cowichan Valley in the same incident.


The girl remains in hospital as of May 24.

The stabbings took place on the 2800 block of Caswell Street in Chemainus at approximately 1:45 p.m. Friday afternoon.

“The investigation is in its early stages and is continuing, with North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP providing significant resources in all capacities,” detachment spokesman Sgt. Chris Swain said.

“Assistance is being given by other specialty forensic and investigative units from RCMP Island District. Investigators are in contact with all three families, and our thoughts go to them at this tragic time, especially those experiencing the loss of a loved one.”

The incident took place in a modest, one storey, single-family house on Caswell Street, near Josephine Street.

The home is believed to be occupied by at least two people, but an unidentified resident said she didn’t think any children are believed to live there.

Five or six police cars, and as many as four ambulances responded to the scene, according to the neighbour.

Another neighbour, Denis Rostrom, said he was working in his backyard when he heard screaming that sounded like children getting into a cold pool of water.

But then he heard a woman screaming for someone to call 911.

“I went across the street where there was a girl on the sidewalk with a cut to her neck who said that she and the man laying on the front yard of the house had been stabbed.”

Rostrom said Descoteau was conscious at the time, but mumbling to another man who had come to his assistance.

Descoteau later died while being transported to hospital.

“He was asking the guy who came to help him if he was going to die and if he could have some water,” Rostrom said.

“He appeared to have cuts to his throat and around his eyes. The second guy [John] was still there and was less injured than the other two. I went back to my house to get towels to hand out to the people who had come to help.”

John was arrested at the scene, treated for his minor injuries in hospital and appeared in court in Duncan on Tuesday morning where the charges were laid.

John, who appeared in court in a yellow prison uniform, seemed to have trouble walking, but it’s unknown if it was due to injuries sustained in the incident.

His next court appearance is scheduled for June 14.

Robert Jeeves and other friends of Descoteau were at the courthouse to hear the charges against John.

Jeeves, who worked with Descoteau at the Western Forest Products’ sawmill in Cowichan Bay, said he was loved by all who knew him.

“It’s such a shame that this had to happen,” he said.

“Derek was such a happy guy and he made it a point to light up everyone else’s day. He was not just a friend, he was my brother and part of my family.”

Descoteau’s Facebook page was filled with tributes to him as of Tuesday afternoon.

“My heart goes out to all of Derek’s close friends and family,” said Bailey Murray.

“Such a great guy. You will be greatly missed.”

Shawna Marie Archbold also expressed her sadness for the loss of Descoteau.

“Everyone already misses you and your one-of-a-kind personality more than words can express,” she said.

“You’ll live on with all of us forever. I’m looking forward to seeing that big goofy smile again one day.”