Charges in 'panhandler' stabbing may be upgraded
Toronto police say murder charges are expected to be laid against two men and two women, after a St. Catharines, Ont. stabbing victim died of his wounds over the weekend.
"My sense is that they will be jointly charged with second-degree murder charges," said Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux of the homicide squad.
Police said 32-year-old Ross Hammond, who was stabbed near Trinity Bellwoods Park after an early Thursday morning argument escalated into violence, died early Saturday morning.
The victim, who commuted into Toronto from St. Catharines, was stabbed near Queen Street West and Gore Vale Avenue shortly after 12:30 a.m.
Hammond was walking with a friend when he was approached by panhandlers asking for money, police said. The two men refused to give the suspects money, and a verbal dispute ensued.
The argument escalated and the victim was stabbed several times in the chest and back. His friend was also assaulted.
Hammond was taken to St. Michael's Hospital in serious condition, where he underwent a number of emergency surgeries. His condition deteriorated until he died Saturday.
Four panhandlers, all in their early 20s, currently face charges of aggravated assault and weapons offences.
The following suspects are in custody in connection with the incident:
- Douglas Fresh, 22;
- Nicole Kish, 21;
- Sarah McDermit, 22; and
- Jeremy Woolley, 21
The suspects are due in court this week. Woolley is in Canada illegally and is wanted on an outstanding warrant in the U.S., Giroux said.
Police are now checking on the immigration status of the other suspects.