Eight teenage girls charged in stabbing death of homeless man in downtown Toronto

Dec 20 2022, 9:02 pm

Three 13-year-old girls, three 14-year-old girls and two 16-year-old girls have each been charged with second-degree murder following the stabbing death of a 59-year-old Toronto man near Union Station early Sunday morning.

“These eight individuals, from what we’ve gathered so far… they met each other through social media,” said Toronto Police Detective Sgt. Terry Browne on Tuesday afternoon while providing an update on the city’s 68th homicide case of 2022.

“They come from varying parts of the city — that is to say, they are not from one specific geographic location. We don’t know how they met on that evening, and why the destination was downtown Toronto.”

What’s known is that police were called to the area of York Street and University Avenue just after midnight on Sunday, December 18, for reports of an assault.

Police say that a 59-year-old man, confirmed by Browne on Tuesday to have recently entered the shelter system, was “assaulted and stabbed by a group of teenage girls.”

The man, who has yet to be identified by police pending next-of-kin notification, was transported to hospital with life-threatening injuries and pronounced dead a short time later.

Eight teens were arrested nearby, and according to Browne, “a number of weapons were secured.”

All eight girls have been charged with second-degree murder, but as minors, they cannot be publicly named per Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act.

During a media conference on Tuesday, Browne revealed that three of the “eight young ladies” have had prior contact with police. The other five had not.

“We don’t know how long they’ve been acquainted together with each other, but I wouldn’t describe them as a gang at this point,” said Browne when asked if the suspects were part of a “girl gang.”

“But, what is alleged to have occurred that evening would be consistent with what we traditionally call swarming or swarming-type behaviour.”

Browne says that the same group was believed to have been involved in a separate altercation earlier in the evening, around 10:30 pm on Saturday, December 17.

Anyone who witnessed the group or has any information about these altercations is asked to contact police at 416-808-7400.

Lauren O'NeilLauren O'Neil

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