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Hostage victim meets teams who saved her life in July

The victim in a stabbing incident this summer had a chance to meet the teams responsible for saving her life. Kathryn Linder was taken hostage at the Lethbridge Legal Guidance office on July 14, when she sustained major injuries after being stabbed in the neck multiple times.

“I am so grateful that I could be here — it’s a little overwhelming to meet all of these faces,” Linder said. “It’s such a wonderful opportunity to be able to say thank you to everybody who had a part in saving my life because I would not be standing here, my kids would have lost their mother. It’s absolutely overwhelming, the outpouring of concern that I have had in the last six weeks.”

Linder worked as a community program manager at the legal guidance office, where she spent much of her time scheduling people for volunteer legal advice. She said much of her work was with the victims’ representative council, which helps people who experience sexual violence and intimate partner violence.

She said her recovery from the injuries was not easy, but, it was fast. During her stay at the hospital, she said she relied on her personal faith and she believes her focus on healing, rather than what could have been, helped her to get home faster.

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“I know when they took me into the OR, something in me mentally shrugged and went, ‘they will patch me up and I will be home in a couple of days because that’s just kind of how I roll,” she said. “It didn’t even register when I got to the ICU until I was able to look in a mirror and see what I looked like. Then everything registered — I remember looking down and seeing that my t-shirt was absolutely saturated with blood and looking at my hand and saying, ‘oh, that’s what the inside of my thumb looks like.”

Linder has not gone back to work and said she has not decided if the incident will result in an earlier retirement, which she was planning within the next couple of years.

Tyler Skauge was one of the Lethbridge Fire and EMS paramedics who responded after police went into the building. He said he and his partner were staged for nearly two hours on the day.

“We got the call from LPS to respond hot, so we came to the scene,” he said. “LPS had done a great job — they had already taken measures to control Kathryn’s bleeding and her stab wounds and they had done a great job. So my partner and I really just packaged Kathryn as quickly as we could and LPS drove us to the hospital.”

Linder said she does not believe it crossed her mind that she would not make it out of the hostage situation. The woman who was holding her an officer told her to get on her knees and had a gun pointed at her. After the second time, she was told to turn her back to the woman, she said she stood up straight and thought “you know what, if you are going to hurt me, you are going to look me in the eye, you are going to face me and do it. Come what may, I can’t stop it.”

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“She came at me with the knife, I know I tried to fight her off but she’s quite a bit bigger than me and very angry and upset. As soon as I screamed ‘somebody helps me,’ I heard a bang on the door, the officers were there,” Linder said.

The first few days in the hospital were hard because she could not speak and could only give a thumbs up and smile when people asked who she was doing, Linder said.

“Once I was able to speak in the hospital, it was nice to be able to talk to people so then to start telling my story, which helped me process everything,” she said. “I always was a sort of live every day in the moment kind of person — don’t spend a lot of time looking back, don’t spend a lot of time worrying a lot about the future — I am even more that way now. Live your life, buy the shoes, smell the flowers, eat the cake. Life is short, enjoy it, appreciate the people who are with you, and let them know you appreciate them. So it’s really driven that focus home for me.”

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