Eight teenage girls they met through social media were charged with murdering a homeless man in Toronto on Sunday, police said.
Just after midnight on Dec. 18, three 13-year-olds, three 14-year-olds and two 16-year-olds surrounded the 59-year-old victim in a plaza near Grand Central Station, the Toronto Police Service announced.
Bystanders who saw the girls stabbing the man at York Street and University Avenue signaled EMS, which took the victim to a nearby hospital. The victim, who had been living in the city’s shelter system for weeks, succumbed to his injuries, Detective Sergeant Terry Brown said at a news conference Tuesday.
Brown revealed that the teens were found carrying “a number of weapons” near the scene.
The group of girls – whose identities are protected under Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act – may be out to cause trouble. The teens got involved in another altercation about two hours before they allegedly killed the homeless man, police said.
“What they allegedly happened that night was consistent with what we traditionally call bee swarming or swarm-like behavior,” Brown said.
Three of the teens had a history of contact with police officers, Brown said.
The girls, who live in different parts of Toronto, met through social media, but police don’t know how long they’ve known each other. Officials are still investigating why they met in the area and what their plans were for that night.
All eight girls have been charged with second-degree murder. They were remanded in custody and are scheduled to appear in court again at the end of the month.