Arrest made after cyclist struck, stabbed to death in Little Portugal
Codi Wilson and Joshua Freeman, CTV News Toronto
Published Sunday, June 10, 2018 10:28AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, June 10, 2018 11:47PM EDT
One teen has been arrested and two other suspects are still outstanding after a cyclist was struck by a vehicle and stabbed to death in Little Portugal on Saturday evening.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday afternoon, Det. Sgt. Mike Carbone said 19-year-old Aaron Rankine-Wright was biking to work at around 5:30 p.m. when he was struck by a dark-coloured SUV in the area of Frankish and Sheridan avenues, near Dundas and Dufferin streets.
After Rankine-Wright was struck, Carbone said the SUV, which had been following the victim, mounted a curb and became lodged on a cement block and metal fence post.
Police allege the three occupants of the vehicle got out of the SUV and began kicking and punching Rankine-Wright while he was on the ground.
The suspects were seen fleeing the area northbound toward Dundas Street on foot. The vehicle involved in the incident was abandoned at the scene.
Paramedics later located the victim suffering from “obvious signs of trauma” and rushed him to a local hospital, where he later died.
A post-mortem examination was conducted today and the cause of death was determined to be a stab wound to the chest, Carbone confirmed.
A 17-year-old, who cannot be identified under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the case. He is scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall later today.
“We received a great deal of support from the community,” Carbone said. “Based on that information and the assistance of a forensic exam of the vehicle and of the scene, we were able to identify this individual positively.”
Carbone said investigators are still trying to identify the two others who were involved. The suspects, who will also face first-degree murder charges, have been described only as in their teens or early 20s and were seen wearing dark clothing.
“I am appealing to anyone with any information on these two individuals to contact us at the Toronto police homicide squad,” Carbone told reporters.
Investigators are currently combing through video surveillance footage from the area.
The detective said he believes the homicide was “targeted” but would not speculate on a possible motive.
“We are still working on the motive and hopefully when we arrest these other two individuals and speak to more witnesses we will be able to get a better handle on that,” he said.
“We will be able to prove that these three individuals had a common purpose.”
‘He was always smiling’ : Vigil held
Dozens of people came out Sunday night to the scene where Rankine-Wright was murdered, leaving flowers, candles and prayers.
Tearful friends and teachers remembered the young man as a strong, affable friend who was an avid sportsman.
“I’m feeling really sad for a lot of the kids who are here,” wrestling coach Lisa Garby told CP24.
She called the young man’s death ‘so unnecessary.”
“It did not need to happen. Aaron was a great kid.”
Friends remembered Rankine-Wright as a likeable, funny young man that people wanted to hang out with.
“Aaron was the best person ever – the kindest, the funniest, the purest person I’ve ever met and the strongest – he was so strong,” one friend said.
She said he was excellent at wrestling and rugby and seemed to be the kind of person for whom nothing ever went wrong.
“He had so many family and friends who loved him. He was always loved, there were always people who loved him.”
Another friend, Kevin Warren, remembered him as “having a lot of character, always smiling, grinning. He was a very cool guy to hang around with.”