Saskatoon man describes turning tables on thieves during break and enter

Max McQuinn says he's still haunted by his showdown with intruders. (Dan Zakreski/CBC - image credit)
Max McQuinn says he's still haunted by his showdown with intruders. (Dan Zakreski/CBC - image credit)

Max McQuinn says he just wanted to even the odds.

The 35-year-old says he stumbled upon two men who had broken into his house on Avenue D in Saskatoon at 1:30 a.m. CST on May 29.

McQuinn had stepped out to pick up some fast food. When he got back, he heard voices.

"I wasn't sure if it was in the backyard or something. Then I heard, 'Just grab the cash.' And then it's like, flashbulb, I realize what's going on."

McQuinn got one of the men in a headlock, but tossed him to the kitchen floor when the second intruder began advancing. He then realized that he stood between the men and their way out.

"My thought process, I guess, was just even the odds as much as I could," he said.

"I was hoping maybe I could get a decent choke out on the one guy before going to the next. But that didn't work and I just had to resort to the kitchen tools."

He saw his Japanese chef's knife, 22 centimetres of freshly-sharpened Damascus steel, sitting on the counter.

"So I grabbed the chef's knife off the counter and just kind of held it out to like, wave it around," he said.

McQuinn manoeuvred the pair to the front door and got them out of the house. He said he didn't realize he'd injured one of them until he saw the man's white t-shirt turning red as he ran away.

Police say they do not believe McQuinn will face charges.

"The 37-year-old victim of the stabbing, who is also the suspect in the break and enter, was not co-operative when members of the Serious Assault Unit attended to the hospital to interview him," said Josh Grella in an email.

"Investigation based on interviews and evidence also suggests that the stabbing occurred in self-defence."


Saskatoon defence lawyer Ron Piche said the courts are guided in self-defence cases by whether an individual's response is proportionate.

"It really comes down to the reasonableness of the actions of the individual. And in a case where there's an imminent threat, or at least a perception of an imminent threat, then that might justify the the type of actions that were taken, of course using a knife and stabbing someone," he said in an interview.

"It puts a bit of a burden on an accused to show that he responded, or she responded, in a proportional way. And of course, it's a factual finding the judge has to make whether or not there was indeed that threat, either a menacing threat or a perception of a threat."

McQuinn said he can't recall exactly what he was thinking as the confrontation unfolded.

"It was mostly just that I was stuck between, you know, a closed door behind me … by the time I did notice the guys, they were so close I didn't want to turn my back on that."

The incident has changed how McQueen views his safety and surroundings.

He's now got cameras and makes sure that his doors are locked when he leaves the house.

He's troubled by what could have happened.

"The situation sucks," he said.

"I didn't come home looking for that."

The 37-year-old intruder is facing a charge of break and enter, and is scheduled to appear in court later this month.