TORONTO — Eight teenage girls who apparently met on social media have been charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of a 59-year-old man, Toronto police said Tuesday.
Investigators allege that the girls assaulted and stabbed the man in Toronto’s downtown core early Sunday morning. 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 the same girls got into an altercation earlier in the night in the area.
“They met each other through social media. They come from varying parts of the city,” Browne said 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 they took part in a “swarming.”
He said a number of weapons were seized, but he declined to say what kind. He also said three of the girls had prior encounters with the police.
Canadian authorities can’t release the girls’ names by law because they’re underage.
They have made their first court appearance and remain in custody. The next court appearance is Dec. 29.
Browne said the victim started living in Toronto’s shelter system in the late fall.
“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,” he said.
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