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Toronto police warn of man who keeps randomly slashing people in the face downtown

Toronto continues to deal with what feels like an abnormally-high rate of random, unprovoked attacks upon members of the public this season, as evidenced by a new police update regarding a suspect who slashes the faces of strangers.

The Toronto Police Service announced on Sunday evening that it was seeking assistance from the public in identifying someone who had slashed two separate victims in the downtown core with "an edged weapon" over the weekend.

Police say that the first assault occurred in the Dundas Street East and Victoria Street area around 7:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 9., when the victim was standing outside.

A male thought to be in his 20s (the suspect) approached the victim from behind, and then "slashed the victim in the face with an edged weapon unprovoked."

The suspect then fled the scene on foot. He was wearing a black baseball cap, black headphones, a black winter jacket, black pants and tanned construction boots at the time. 

Then, on Sunday, Dec. 11, around 5:45 a.m., police received another call for a stabbing near Yonge and Adelaide Streets.

Police say that the same suspect approached a victim, who was sleeping outside, and then once again, "slashed the victim in the face with an edged weapon unprovoked" before fleeing the area.

"Both attacks are believed to be random and done by the same suspect," reads a TPS news release issued Sunday evening. "Police are reminding the public to be aware of their surroundings at all times."

The victims of both face-slashings were taken to hospital, treated for their injuries, and have since been released — but not everyone randomly attacked in this city lately has been so lucky.

A 31-year-old woman was killed, and another left with serious injuries in a random stabbing attack at Toronto's High Park subway station late last week.

Police confirmed on Friday that neither woman had known the suspect, a 52-year-old man named Neng Jia Jin. He was arrested at the scene in that case and charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.

A few days earlier, a 29-year-old woman was stabbed with a needle while waiting for the lights to change at the intersection of Yonge and College Streets.

The victim says she was simply standing on the sidewalk when she felt a sharp poke in her back. The suspect had already fled, but bystanders who saw the incident informed the victim, prompting her to seek medical attention when she started to experience pain and swelling at the injection site.

These are just a few of the unprovoked assaults or attempted assaults reported by police in recent weeks, and a drop in the bucket compared to all of those reported over the past year.

Between all of the various people being stabbed, shot, pushed onto the subway tracks and even set ablaze on TTC property in 2022, some Torontonians are growing leery of public transit.

Another random, violent attack caught on camera aboard a MiWay bus in Mississauga late last month did little to help soothe their nerves, and Friday's double-stabbing is being held up by many as another example of Toronto becoming a crime-ridden Gotham.

The Toronto Police Service's public safety data portal shows that major crimes are up about 17 per cent overall to date in 2022 compared to all of 2021. Auto thefts and robberies, up 43.8 per cent and 27.9 per cent account for much of the uptick, but every category except for homicide has risen.

With 20,162 assaults recorded so far this year, Toronto has already seen about 10 per cent more violent attacks in 2022 than it did during all of 2021. 

Assault continues to make up the majority of all crimes committed in Toronto at just over 48 per cent as of Dec. 12, 2022.

Lead photo by

Toronto Police Service

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