Toronto Police are investigating the death of a woman after an alleged unprovoked attack Friday morning in the city’s downtown core.
Toronto Police Acting Inspector Craig Young said officers responded to reports of an assault at Yonge and King Streets, near the financial district, around 11:30 a.m.
A woman – described as being in her 70s or 80s – had been walking alone when she was allegedly pushed to the ground and sustained serious injuries to her face and head. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The suspect, described as a man in his 30s, fled. He was arrested an hour later, when officers spotted him roughly a block away, near Yonge and Richmond Streets.
The man was taken into custody and is expected to be charged with aggravated assault – which Insp. Young said could be upgraded, depending on the results of an autopsy.
“The information that we have is that she was pushed to the ground, sustained serious injuries to her face and head area, but at this point in time … pending the outcome of the autopsy, we can’t confirm the cause of death,” Insp. Young said, noting that the homicide unit has been made aware of the investigation in the meantime.
He could not provide information about the victim’s identity Friday, as police were still working to notify her next of kin.
The suspect’s identity was also not released.
Insp. Young could not comment on whether the suspect and the victim knew each other, or the extent of any interaction between them prior to the alleged attack.
He said his understanding is that it was unprovoked and stressed that investigators are looking to speak with anyone who may have witnessed the incident.
He described the case as “a very, very tragic occurrence – one of a series of tragic occurrences that have happened in our city lately.”
“It troubles me greatly,” he said.
Early last month, a 31-year-old woman was killed in an allegedly random afternoon stabbing, while riding a subway car in the city’s west end. Another passenger, a 37-year-old woman, was also injured but survived.
In June, six months earlier, a woman was set on fire on a Toronto Transit Commission bus in what police said was a random attack. She later died.
And in April, a woman was pushed onto the tracks at a busy subway station in the city and survived by sheltering under the platform edge.
Mayor John Tory offered his condolences Friday to the family of this latest victim.
“Today we see another example of what appears to be a random violent attack on an innocent person in our city,” he said in an e-mail statement.
“While the facts of this specific case have not been determined and made public, we all know that we need to do everything we can to determine the root causes of such acts,” he said, stressing the need for the province and federal government “to invest more in mental health and addiction treatment … as soon as possible.”