ken lee toronto

Police identify homeless man allegedly stabbed to death by 8 teen girls in Toronto

Police have identified Toronto's 68th homicide victim of 2022 as Ken Lee, a 59-year-old man who had recently entered the city's shelter system when he was "swarmed" by eight teens and stabbed to death near Union Station three weeks ago.

"The Toronto Police Service would like to update the public on a homicide investigation," wrote police in a media release issued Tuesday morning. "On Sunday, December 18, 2022, at approximately 12:17 a.m., police responded to a call for an Assault in the York Street and University Avenue area."

"It is alleged that a man had been assaulted and stabbed by a group of teenage girls. The man was transported to hospital by medics with life-threatening injuries. He was pronounced deceased at the hospital a short time later. Eight teenage girls were arrested nearby," continues the release.

"The victim has been identified as Ken Lee, 59, of Toronto."

As reported to the horror of news audiences all over the world last month, three 13-year-old girls, three 14-year-old girls and two 16-year-old girls were charged with second-degree murder following the stabbing death of a man near Union Station just after midnight on Dec. 18.

"These eight individuals, from what we've gathered so far... they met each other through social media," said Toronto Police Det. Sgt. Terry Browne during a press conference shortly after the charges were laid.

"They come from varying parts of the city — that is to say, they are not from one specific geographic location. We don't know how they met on that evening, and why the destination was downtown Toronto."

Browne revealed at the time that the same "eight young ladies" were believed to have been involved in a separate altercation earlier in the evening, around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17.

Three of the girls had previous interactions with police, according to Browne, while the other five had not.

The identities of the accused cannot be released under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

One of the eight girls accused of stabbing Lee to death was released on a bail of $9,500 following a brief court appearance on Dec. 29 and is awaiting trial at home with strict conditions in place.

The girl is not allowed to have a cell phone, leave the province, be outside of her home without a surety, have contact with any of her fellow accused, or use the internet for anything aside from online schooling, per the bail conditions read by Ontario Justice Maria Sirivar in court on Thursday, Dec. 29.

She is permitted to attend school in person, as long as she stays within the building, but has been ordered to surrender her passport.

Bail hearings are scheduled for four of the other female children later this month; one on Jan. 20, two on Jan. 25 and one on Jan. 27. The remaining three girls are scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 25 to set dates for their own bail hearings.

 It is not yet clear how, exactly, the teenagers know each other.

"We don't know how long they've been acquainted together with each other, but I wouldn't describe them as a gang at this point," said Browne when asked if the suspects were part of a "girl gang" in December.

"But, what is alleged to have occurred that evening would be consistent with what we traditionally call swarming or swarming-type behaviour."

Rumours had been swirling ahead of one suspect's court appearance that the young women had filmed their fatal attack and posted it somewhere online.

A lawyer for one of the girls all but confirmed this in court on Dec. 29 by requesting that Crown lawyers disclose what CityNews described as "a video of the alleged attack posted on the popular online video platform TikTok."

Lead photo by

Toronto Police Service

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