Suspect arrested after feces dumped on people near Toronto university libraries
Published Tuesday, November 26, 2019 5:30AM EST Last Updated Tuesday, November 26, 2019 11:23PM EST
TORONTO -- Toronto police say they have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with a string of incidents in which victims were attacked with liquid fecal matter.
Police announced the arrest Tuesday night and said the suspect was taken into custody near Queen Street and Spadina Avenue at around 6 p.m. based on information received by investigators.
“We thank the community for their help and their support with this investigation,” Const. Alex Li told CP24. “It is quite disturbing, but our team has put all our resources together and thankfully we’ve made an arrest on an individual and that person is going to answer to the charges in court tomorrow.”
The arrest comes after a bucket of what was believed to be feces was dumped on a female outside a University of Toronto building late Monday night, the third such incident in the city within a four-day period.
In a tweet sent out early Tuesday morning, police said the latest assault occurred at around midnight in the area of College Street and University Avenue, near a building on the University of Toronto’s downtown campus.
Police said a man dumped a bucket of what appeared to be feces on a female on the sidewalk and then took off eastbound on College Street.
Officers were already investigating two other incidents where “liquefied fecal matter” was reportedly tossed on people inside university libraries.
The first assault allegedly occurred at the University of Toronto’s Robarts Library on Friday.
Police said an unknown man entered the library at around 5:20 p.m. carrying what has been described as "liquefied fecal matter."
The man, according to police, then walked over to two unsuspecting people seated at a table and poured the contents of the bucket on them.
He then fled the area on foot.
On Tuesday, police released a photo of the suspect believed to be responsible for the two attacks around U of T.
A similar scene unfolded on Sunday at a library at York University's Keele campus.
In a statement released Monday, a York University spokesperson said an unknown male entered the university's Scott Library at around 5 p.m. and "deposited a substance, suspected of containing fecal matter, on a student."
Surveillance camera images of the suspect in the York incident were released by police on Monday evening. In the image, the suspect appears to be carrying some sort of a bucket with a handle.
In all, there were five victims across the three incidents. In each case, police said, a Home Depot bucket was used.
Const. Victor Kwong said police have not yet confirmed if the substance dumped on the victims is in fact human waste but said the bucket seized last night will be forensically tested.
At this point, it appears the victims were targeted at random.
“(The victims) were Asian, however, we don’t think that might be the connection because we have different parts of Asia in there. We have some from the west side, some from the east side,” Kwong said.
Police said Tuesday night that Samuel Opoku of Toronto has been charged with five counts of assault with a weapon and five counts of mischief interfere with property.
He is scheduled to make a court appearance at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
Li said it is too early to say whether mental health was a factor in the incidents.
Responding to the arrest Tuesday night, Mayor John Tory said that he hopes the arrest helps restore calm to the city’s university campuses.
“Great work by Toronto Police arresting an individual in the “feces attacks” investigation,” Tory said in a tweet. “He can’t face justice or be given help until apprehended and it seems our police have that in hand. I hope this arrest will help calm concern on campuses and across the city.”
Speaking to CP24 on Monday night, Police Chief Mark Saunders called the incidents "serious offences."
Earlier Tuesday, students at U of T expressed shock and disgust over the disturbing incidents.
"I don’t know how you get that idea," one student told reporters. "We are all humans... You’ve got to have a bit more respect than that."