Man, 73, identified as victim of murder at Bloor-Yonge Station
The victim of a homicide at Bloor-Yonge Station is being identified by police as a 73-year-old resident of Toronto.
Yosuke Hayahara was walking on the eastbound subway platform Monday morning when he was allegedly pushed in front of a train.
The TTC originally reported the incident as an injury at track level. Officers arrived at the scene around 10:40 a.m. and found a man “suffering medical distress” under a train. The victim was rushed to the hospital, where he later died.
Police originally said the victim was in his 20s.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, Det. Rob North told reporters police believed the man was “the victim of a homicide.”
“Our victim and our accused are about to get on the eastbound train, which is approaching the station and our allegations at this time are that there is an interaction between our accused and our deceased and our deceased is sort of pushed and falls under the train,” North said.
There is no evidence that the accused and the victim knew one another, police said.
John Reszetnik, 57, was taken into custody 20 minutes after the incident and was charged with first-degree murder.
The accused appeared in court Tuesday morning, wearing a white hooded jumpsuit. The case was put over until July 17.
After the accused appeared in court, North told reporters he believes the attack was unprovoked.
“The incident took place in a very quick fashion,” he said. “It was a completely an unprovoked attack on this gentleman.”
North says he is pleading for witnesses to come forward, specifically seven or eight bystanders who had a “close interaction” with the accused and deceased.
TTC looking into safety barriers
The incident has caused concern over how easily a person can fall on to the subway tracks.
Cases of people being intentionally pushed are rare -- according to TTC spokesperson Brad Ross, the last recorded case of a death was at Dundas Station in 1997.
“To date, we’ve had 18 incidents, 12 attempts and six fatalities,” Ross told CTV News Toronto.
The TTC currently has an engineering study underway to look at the idea of installing safety barriers.
At a press conference Monday, Mayor John Tory said the idea should be considered, but acknowledged the project would cost more than $1 billion.
“I don’t mean to bring it back to money when you are dealing with trying to save lives, but in the end this is a huge undertaking,” Tory said. “The question arises as to how we’d pay for it.”
The purpose of a safety barrier is to not only prevent intentional acts of homicide, but also to reduce the number of suicides. The barriers would line up with train doors and open when the trains come to a stop.
They were first recommended in a 2014 report from Toronto Public Health called “Suicide Prevention in Toronto.”
One of the biggest challenges, Ross says, is that the trains would have to be automatically controlled in order to stop in the exact location.
“The platform doors open, and the train doors open and they have to be precise,” he said. “One of the issues for the TTC is that for the barrier to perfectly (fit) against the yellow rail, they would have to retrofit every ingle station in the network.”
Tory did say that he would be willing to re-examine the use of barriers in order to prevent further loss of life.
“When we’re losing the number of lives that we are, we owe it to the city and its population and people who are troubled to really take a serious look at this.”