Toronto’s homicide tally for 2013 rose to 10 early Tuesday, after a man stabbed multiple times in the city’s west end died in hospital of his injuries.
Detectives at the crime scene named the victim as Michael Cocomello, 20, and said he had been targeted rather than attacked at random, and had been “lured” from his apartment home before he was killed.
Of the 10 people killed so far this year, four were shot, three were stabbed to death and three died by other means, figures that roughly align with the numbers from previous years.
Knife crime, however, while showing no great leap in frequency, has garnered headlines in Toronto lately.
And nationally, it remains the most frequent type of murder.
In this latest incident, Mr. Cocomello was stabbed in the back and upper body at the intersection of Nairn Avenue and Thornton Avenue, in the Eglinton Avenue and Dufferin Street area, shortly before 9:30 p.m. Monday.
After being attacked, he walked north on Nairn to Eglinton, where he collapsed.
Among the first on the scene was his mother, Insp. Ken Taylor of the homicide squad told reporters.
“I can only imagine what it would be like to find your son in that state,” he said.
Mr. Cocomello, who also used the name Mandino, was rushed to Sunnybrook hospital with life-threatening injuries and was pronounced dead shortly after midnight.
No arrests have been made and police urged anyone with information to come forward, particularly any witnesses who saw the victim on the street and may be able to describe his killer or killers.
On Monday, a bail hearing was postponed for 20-year-old Cassim Celani Cummings of Toronto, charged with attempted murder and six other offences in the stabbing last week of a 35-year-old man aboard a subway train as it approached the Davisville station.
Mr. Cummings, who has a lengthy criminal record, is being investigated in relation to several other incidents, including attacks on other passengers riding the transit system.
The previous week, an argument at the Dundas West subway station between two men riding the escalator ended when one of them allegedly pulled a knife and stabbed the other several times; two hours later, following an extensive manhunt, a 21-year-old man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and various weapons offences.
In Britain, where the relative rarity of guns makes knife crime a perennial concern, even as the over-all crime rate dips, the government last year implemented tougher laws to combat stabbings: a new offence of aggravated possession of a knife, aimed at people who wield knives in public or threaten to cause harm with one.
And neither is Canada immune. The country’s homicide total for 2011 was 598, an increase of 44 over 2010, and in its annual snapshot of the crime landscape Statistics Canada said that stabbings, accounting for roughly one-third of the deaths, were chiefly responsible for the increase – 39 more than in 2010.
Nation-wide, stabbings accounted for 35 per cent of homicides in 2011; firearms for 27 per cent; beatings for 22 per cent and strangulation for seven per cent.
The other 9 per cent of killings chiefly involved cases where for different reasons the cause of death could not be ascertained.
As Toronto detectives investigated the newest homicide, meanwhile, two other stabbings were reported.
At around 4 a.m., a man seeking treatment for a stab wound walked into Humber Finch Hospital in the city’s northwest.
And a few hours later on Falstaff Avenue, near Wilson and Jane streets, a woman was taken to hospital after a stabbing inside an apartment building, police tweeted.
The extent of injuries in both cases was not immediately known.