Ken Lee, 59, was an immigrant from Hong Kong who had been trying to find housing in the city, according to the Daily Mail.
The victim was allegedly defending a friend of his from whom the girls were trying to steal a bottle of liquor when the attack happened.
The teens, whose ages range from 13 to 16, swarmed the man and stabbed him multiple times before fleeing the scene, according to Toronto Police. He was rushed to the hospital but passed away as a result of his injuries.
Each of the girls, whose names can't be revealed because of their age, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
During a vigil held for Lee at the Toronto Homeless Memorial downtown, visitors described him as a quiet person and devoted friend.
"Nobody was surprised that he would stick up for somebody like that," Sanctuary Toronto spokesperson and pastor Johnson Hatlem said of Lee.
Detective Sergeant Terry Browne of the Toronto Police described the murder as "shocking" and "disturbing."
"I've been in policing for almost 35 years and you think you've seen it all," Browne said. "Anyone who isn't shocked with hearing something like this has clearly just thrown in the towel and just said that anything is possible in this world."
He described the incident as a "swarming," stating that "there is no doubt in our minds that they were all working as a singular entity."
"All eight were together. All eight were involved," he said.
The girls allegedly met on social media and came to downtown Toronto from different parts of the city, although it is not known why they met at that location on that night.
"We don't know how long they were acquainted with each other. I wouldn't describe them as a gang at this point," Browne added.
Mayor John Tory described the murder as unacceptable, saying "I am extremely troubled by the young age of those accused and by the number of people allegedly involved in this murder."
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