WINNIPEG - Amid a circuslike atmosphere, a community paid respects and said goodbye Saturday afternoon to Tim McLean, the Winnipeg man who was savagely stabbed to death on a Greyhound bus July 30.
Seven months pregnant, Stacey Titterton stood on a sidewalk in sweltering heat to ensure a peaceful funeral for the slain 22-year-old man she'd never met.
Titterton, like hundreds of others, was there to send a message to extremist protesters who had threatened to picket outside the funeral and to disrupt family and friends of McLean's.
After much fanfare, those protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas never arrived. However, an estimated 300 to 400 peaceful mourners came to mourn with the McLean family outside the church.
"I think we're a fairly strong community, so when someone starts bashing someone that died, that we will unite together. We have to show that Canada will not tolerate this," said Titterton, who was standing in the shade alongside a like-minded friend.
"I don't believe it's any of my personal business to be (inside the funeral), because I didn't know him. But I believe showing support outside, there's nothing wrong with that . . . this is just an honest, silent way of showing the way we feel."
McLean, was stabbed to death and beheaded last month, as the bus travelled to Winnipeg from Edmonton.
Vince Weiguang Li, 40, a recent immigrant to Canada, is being held as a suspect in the killing, which chilled the nation and garnered worldwide attention.
Just after lunchtime, Winnipeggers crammed sidewalks in a peaceful blockade to stop the protesters.
The Westboro protesters had threatened to picket the funeral with the message that McLean's death was God's punishment for Canada's policies that enable homosexuality, abortion and adultery. They never came, following promises by the Winnipeg Police Service anyone disrupting the funeral would be facing arrest. Several members of the group also were turned away from the Canadian border Thursday after Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day issued an alert.