Eight teenage girls have been charged with the deadly stabbing of a man in downtown Toronto in what police called a "swarming" attack.
Officers responded to the report of an assault shortly after midnight on Dec. 18 and discovered the 59-year-old victim, the Toronto Police Service said in a news release.
Investigators said the man suffered stab wounds and he was transported to an area hospital where he died. Police added that the man was a Toronto resident but they haven’t revealed his name pending a next-of-kin.
Authorities said eight teen girls were arrested nearby following the alleged assault. The girls — three 13-year-olds, three 14-year-olds, and two 16-year-olds — have been charged each with second-degree murder and they appeared in court on Dec. 18.
In a police news conference Tuesday, Detective Sgt. Terry Browne provided more information on the case offering that the girls met on social media and were involved in a separate altercation on Dec. 17 before the alleged deadly assault of the 59-year-old man.
The girls are from different parts of the city, Brown noted, adding that he wouldn’t describe them as a gang but said the girls allegedly were involved in what police call "swarming-type behavior."
"Swarming" refers to three or more people identifying a target to victimize, NBC News reported.
Three of the girls had prior contact with Toronto Police Services before the Dec. 18 incident, while the other five did not Browne explained. The detective added a "number of weapons were secured" after the incident but didn’t say what they were.
Browne later shared that the 59-year-old man was living in the shelter system in the Toronto area.
"He only recently moved into the shelter system, late fall. He does have a very supportive family in the area. I wouldn’t necessarily say he was homeless, maybe recently on some hard luck."
This story was reported from Washington, D.C.