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Man dies after bizarre string of break-ins in Hamilton

Police tape.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

A man is dead after diving headfirst through windows in two homes in Hamilton, Ont., police say.

The 23-year-old man allegedly entered the first house by going headfirst through the front window around 12:05 a.m. on Tuesday. He was confronted by the owner, an 86-year-old woman who hit him with her cane.

"She's defending herself, she's in her own house," said Constable Debbie McGreal-Dinning of Hamilton Police. "It would have just been probably a knee-jerk reaction where she had a cane – and as hard as an 86-year-old woman would be able to hit a man with a cane – but that had nothing to do with what transpired after that."

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Armed with a knife, the man cut the woman before jumping headfirst through a back window of her house. The senior sought help from a neighbour and was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Leaving a trail of blood, the man allegedly broke into a nearby apartment building – again by going headfirst through a window – a few minutes later, startling a 15-year-old boy on the other side.

When police and paramedics arrived, the suspect was in medical distress and bleeding heavily. He was taken to hospital and died.

Police said it is unclear whether the man was under the influence of drugs or intended to steal from the homes.

"Certainly this is, on the surface of it, very strange behaviour. But I certainly can't speak with any confidence as to why he was doing what he was, whether it was drug-related or not," said Staff Sergeant David Beech.

Police said they are withholding the suspect's identity at the request of his family.

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