Toronto: Eight teenage girls who allegedly met on social media were charged with second-degree murder following the stabbing of a 59-year-old man in Toronto.
Investigators allege that the girls assaulted and stabbed the man in Toronto’s downtown early Sunday. Police said medics took the man to a hospital, where he died.
According to police, the eight girls were arrested near where the attack happened. Three of the girls are 13 years old, three are 14, and two are 16.
Detective Sgt. Terry Browne of the Toronto Police Service Homicide Squad said investigators believe the girls were trying to take a bottle of alcohol from the man.
He said that the man had started living in Toronto’s shelter system in September. Police have not been able yet to reach his family.
“I’ve been in policing for almost 35 years, and you think you’ve seen it all,” Browne said in an interview with the Associated Press. “Eight young girls and most under the age of 16 — if this isn’t alarming and shocking to everyone, then we’re all in trouble.”
Browne said the girls have involved in an altercation earlier in the night in the area. He declined to release more details on that.
“They met each other through social media. They come from varying parts of the city,” Browne said. “We don’t know how or why they met on that evening and why the destination was downtown Toronto. We don’t know how long they were acquainted with each other. I wouldn’t describe them as a gang at this point.”
Browne said the girls acted in concert and were “equally culpable.” He said police would see if there were similar “swarming” attacks online.
He said a number of weapons were seized but declined to say what kind. He also said three of the girls had had prior encounters with the police.
Browne said police had spoken to the teenagers’ parents. I can tell you it was a shock to find out that their children were involved in an event like this,” he said.
The eight girls, who remain unidentified because of their age, made their first court appearance and remain in custody. The next court appearance is on Dec. 29.
Browne said they are asking anyone who saw the group of teens that night to contact the police.
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