Eight teenage girls, some as young as 13 years old, have been charged in connection with a “swarming” attack in downtown Toronto that left a man dead on Sunday.
Toronto police said it happened in the area of York Street and University Avenue at around 12:17 a.m.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Det. Sgt. Terry Browne from the homicide unit said paramedics were flagged down by a group of individuals in the area and notified them about a man that had been assaulted.
“An emergency medical services staff commenced medical intervention. They realized that the victim had suffered what would (be) described as stab wounds,” Browne said.
The victim, a 59-year-old man, was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Eight young girls who allegedly assaulted and stabbed the victim were arrested nearby.
“And as a result of quick work by officers in 52 Division, these females were able to be located and apprehended,” Browne said.
They have been charged with second-degree murder. They appeared in court on Sunday and were remanded into custody.
The girls cannot be identified under the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, but police said three of them are 13 years old, three are 14 years old, and two are 16 years old.
Browne noted it is unclear how long the girls have known each other as they come from different parts of the city.
“They met each other through social media,” he said. “We don’t know how or why they met that evening and why the destination was downtown Toronto.”
While he did not call the group a gang, Browne said that what the girls allegedly did could be described as “swarming.”
When asked if any of the girls were known to police, he noted that three had prior contact with police services.
During the arrest, a number of weapons were also seized, but Browne refused to provide details on them.
Meanwhile, police have not released the name of the victim as they are yet to notify his kin. Browne said the victim recently moved to the shelter system.
“He does have a very supportive family in the area,” Browne said.
The victim is the city’s 68th homicide of the year.
Police have established a dedicated website where people can submit evidence, including videos, about the incident that could help in the investigation.
Browne said investigators are particularly looking to speak to anyone who was in the area at the time and had interaction with the group of girls.
“We have information to believe that this same group of eight young women were involved in an altercation earlier,” he said.
“If you have something, please share that with us because we would like to get any and all information available.”
Anyone with information can also contact homicide investigators at 416-808-7400, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477) or www.222tips.com.
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