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8 teenage girls charged with killing Toronto man

8 teenage girls charged with killing Toronto man

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Eight teenage girls, including three 13-year-olds, have been charged with the murder of a 59-year-old man in downtown Toronto, police said Tuesday, in one of the latest and most disturbing episodes of violence in Canada’s largest city.

The unidentified victim has been living in a homeless shelter since the fall, police said. According to The Globe and Mail newspaper, he appeared unaware of the suspects and may have been attacked over a liquor bottle he was carrying.

The girls had been in touch via social media before possibly meeting in person for the first time on Saturday night, police said, adding that they were from different parts of the city and did not appear to form a gang.

“We don’t know how or why they met that night and why the target was downtown Toronto,” Sgt. Terry Browne of the Toronto Police Service said in a Tuesday news conference. “We don’t know how long they’ve known each other.”

News of the murder emerged a day after five people were gunned down in a high-rise condominium building outside Toronto by a 73-year-old resident who had long-standing grievances against members of the condominium board. The individual murders occur within days as crime and violence have increased in Toronto.

Just after midnight Saturday, police responded to reports of a wounded man in downtown Toronto, authorities said. The man was taken to the hospital, but died there shortly afterwards from his stab wounds.

Police described the attack on the man as “swarming behavior” – in which the victims were robbed after being swarmed. Several robberies of this type occurred in the Toronto area last summer, prompting police to increase security in the affected commercial areas.

The group of girls – which also included three 14-year-olds and two 16-year-olds – had been involved in another altercation of “criminal conduct” before meeting the 59-year-old man, Sergeant Browne said. According to authorities, three of the girls had “previous contact” with the police.

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