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Dispute at sushi restaurant ends in death

The tables of a sushi restaurant in the Annex were still covered with unfinished food yesterday, hours after a dispute between two employees turned deadly.

One man was stabbed to death in the kitchen of New Generation Sushi on Saturday night. Police said the fight was over a "very minor" work-related issue.

"It escalated very, very quickly and [it's]just an unfortunate ending," said Detective Sergeant Terry Browne.

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Police charged Xu Wang, a 25-year-old who has worked at the restaurant for about one year, with second-degree murder. He was arrested at the scene.

On Monday, investigators identified the 27-year-old victim as Ming Yang. Both men are from China and were studying in Toronto. The deceased was a student at the Ontario College of Art and Design. An autopsy is to be conducted Monday.

Det. Sgt. Browne said the young men worked both as waiters and cooks at the small eatery, which is on Bloor Street West near Brunswick Avenue. The dispute began in the dining area around 11 p.m. and moved to the kitchen. He would not say if the weapon was a kitchen knife.

At the time of the homicide, Det. Sgt. Browne said New Generation Sushi was busy, with several staff and many customers, most of whom stayed behind to give statements to police.

Julie Khuong and four relatives ate dinner at the restaurant Saturday night, leaving just an hour before the stabbing.

"It was like normal. Very packed," said the 34-year-old who lives in the neighbourhood. "When we left, it's like nothing wrong."

Yesterday, forensic identification officers took photographs and gathered evidence inside the closed restaurant as passersby stopped to peer in the window. Tables were covered with abandoned dinners: shrimp tempura and rice in a bento box, a half-eaten piece of salmon sushi, saucers of soy sauce, bowls of miso soup, cups of tea and crumpled napkins.

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"Oh my God, that's, like, a real crime scene. The food is still out!" a young woman said to her friend. After stopping to ask what had happened, an older man said: "There goes the neighbourhood."

Meanwhile, police have made an arrest in another Annex homicide.

On Friday, police arrested and charged James Chalaturnyk, 33, with second-degree murder in relation to the death of Gerald Robert Brown, 67. The retired dentist was found dead in his apartment on Bedford Road last Wednesday. An autopsy concluded he died of a sharp force wound to his neck.

At the time, police said they were eager to interview his live-in companion, a younger man named James.

Mr. Chalaturnyk is to appear in court today.

Councillor Adam Vaughan said the two killings are "just a bad set of coincidences" that are not tied to the neighbourhood.

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"It's the breakdown of everything that used to be civil about Toronto," he said.

As well, in July, Sebastian Herrera, 23, was shot and killed in an alley at Bloor and Major Streets in what police said may have been a botched robbery. Marvin Jarrett, 22, was arrested in August and faces first-degree murder and attempted murder charges.

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