Toronto Police say eight girls who met through social media are responsible for the death of a 59-year-old man after they “swarmed” him on the weekend.
Det. Sgt. Terry Browne said bystanders flagged down EMS personnel in the area of York St. and University Ave. shortly after midnight on Dec. 18 to help a man that had been injured.
@TorontoPolice News Conference LiveStream | D/Sgt. Terry Browne, TPS Homicide & Missing Persons Unit | Tuesday, December 20th, 2022 | 1500h
After locating what appeared to be “stab wounds,” the man was transported to hospital, where he died, said police.
It is extraordinarily rare for young girls to be involved as the perpetrators of armed violence, which typically boils over between their male counterparts, though they are not immune from conflicts. It is rarer still for them to be accused of murder.
Officers, following information the attackers had been eight young females, quickly located them nearby and arrested them, said Toronto police in a news conference on Tuesday.
They were brought to 52 division on Dundas St. West and were all charged with second-degree murder.
The man’s identity is known, but is not being released while police continue notifying family members.
“The 59 year old victim is currently living in the shelter system,” only recently, as of the late fall, Browne told reporters. “He does have a very supportive family in the area so I wouldn’t necessarily call him homeless, maybe just recently on some hard luck.”
Browne said they believe the girls were in the area as early as 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 17 and got in another “altercation” before the assault on the 59-year-old.
It’s not known how long the girls have known each other or why they came downtown that night, Brown said, but they met through social media and live in areas across the city.
“I wouldn’t describe them as a gang at this point but what (is) alleged to have occurred that evening would be consistent with what we traditionally call a swarming.”
Three of the girls have had prior “contact” with police — not necessarily a criminal record — and the other five had no prior police interactions, Browne said.
The girls — three are 13 years old, three 14-year-olds and two 16-year-olds — made their first appearance in an Old City Hall courtroom on the same day they were arrested.
This is not the first attack on vulnerable victims this month.
Earlier this month, a 21-year-old man was arrested for two “unprovoked” stabbing attacks, victims included a man sleeping outside.
Police are asking any witnesses or victims in the incident prior to midnight to contact them at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or at www.222tips.com.
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