According to the Toronto Police Service, the teens swarmed the man and stabbed him multiple times before fleeing the scene. He was rushed to the hospital but passed away as a result of his injuries.
The incident took place just around midnight on Sunday, December 18 near York Street and University Avenue in downtown Toronto, the TPS wrote in a news release. The girls, three 13-year-olds, three 14-year-olds, and two 16-year-olds, were located nearby and promptly arrested.
"We believe this group of eight young ladies attended the area at least by the 17 of December," Det.-Sgt. Terry Browne of the TPS' homicide unit said, adding that there was evidence they had been "involved in an altercation earlier before being involved in this altercation."
Browne explained that the girls hailed from different areas of the city and met via social media, but that the TPS was so far unaware of why they had decided to meet at that location. He noted that three of the eight teens had had "prior contact" with police.
"I wouldn't describe them as a gang at this point," Browne continued, "but what is alleged to have occurred that evening would be consistent with what we traditionally called a 'swarming'."
The teens appeared in court at 10 am on December 19, and have been remanded into custody. They will make their next court appearance on December 29.
The 59-year-old victim was originally believed to be a homeless man, however, Browne clarified that he had "only recently" moved into the shelter system, and would better be described as being "on some hard luck." His name has not been released, as the TPS is still notifying his next of kin.
If you have any information that could assist the investigation, contact police at 416-808-7400, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or at www.222tips.com.
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