Toronto police identified a 16-year-old boy as the victim of an “unprovoked” stabbing at a subway station on Saturday night.
In a press release on Sunday, police said officers responded to a stabbing phone call at the TTC’s Keele tube station just before 9 p.m
Toronto’s Gabriel Magalhaes was sitting on a bench in the basement of the train station when he was approached by a man, the press release said.
“The suspect approached the victim and stabbed him for no reason,” police wrote.
Police said Magalhaes was taken to hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
Jordan O’Brien-Tobin, 22, of no fixed address, was arrested after the stabbing, police said.
He was charged with first-degree murder and was due to appear in court on Sunday.
Magalhaes’ death marks Toronto’s 12th murder this year.
The TTC issued a statement calling the stabbing a “horrific incident” and offering its condolences to the teenage victim’s friends and family.
“Like everyone else, we are concerned and saddened by this attack and we take incidents like this very seriously,” spokeswoman Milly Bernal said in a statement. “The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority and we will continue to work with the Toronto Police Services on the investigation.”
Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie also said her thoughts are with Magalhaes’ family and friends, adding she hopes the person responsible will be brought to justice.
“The TTC must be a safe place for all drivers and transit workers – we cannot accept anything less,” McKelvie said in a statement.
“I support the work of TTC, the Toronto Police Department and city employees to implement additional security measures funded by the Toronto City Council in the 2023 budget, including the hiring of 50 new special constables.”
TTC, the police respond to violence
The deadly stabbing is the latest in a string of high-profile acts of violence on the TTC, targeting passengers and workers in transit. Over the past year, victims have been pushed onto subway tracks, set on fire, BB gunned, stabbed, swarmed and otherwise assaulted.
Toronto isn’t the only city facing increasing violence in its transit system. In January, the Amalgamated Transit Union Canada, which represents 35,000 transit workers, called for a national task force involving all levels of government to tackle violence on public transit systems across the country.
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Toronto police announced in mid-March that they were ending additional city traffic patrols that had been put in place to respond to the increase in violence.
Police had announced in late January that more than 80 officers working overtime would be patrolling various locations around the TTC. But not everyone welcomed the move, saying an increased police presence wouldn’t make up for a lack of social support and seemingly fewer services like shelter and shelter.
The TTC has said it has an action plan to prevent abuse. The plan includes:
Increased presence of special police officers throughout the TTC network.
More Streets to Homes staff to support and reach out to homeless people.
Increased presence of maintenance and transport managers who rotate through the subway network during peak periods to ensure the safety and reliability of the service.
Increased vehicle cleaning during peak periods to maintain a clean environment.
Ongoing collaboration with the city and police to increase community support and improve incident response through short- and long-term plans.
Special Police officers monitor statistics to identify problems.