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Police lay murder charge after stabbing death of 16-year-old boy on Toronto subway

Police tape is shown in Toronto, Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Police say they've identified a 16-year-old boy as the victim of an "unprovoked," deadly stabbing inside a Toronto subway station and laid a murder charge in the teen's death. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

TORONTO — The latest violent incident on Toronto's public transit system saw a 16-year-old boy stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack inside a subway station, city police said Sunday as they announced an arrest in the case.

The fatal attack — the latest in a string of high-profile security incidents to take place on Toronto Transit Commission property — occurred on Saturday evening at Keele Station in the city's west end. 

Toronto police said the victim, who they identified as 16-year-old Gabriel Magalhaes, was sitting on a bench on the station's lower level shortly before 9 p.m. 

"The suspect approached the victim and stabbed him, unprovoked," police alleged in a news release.

The boy was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries but died later that evening, the force added. 

A 22-year-old man of no fixed address was later arrested and charged with one count of first-degree murder, police said. The accused was slated to appear in court on Sunday. 

The TTC issued a statement describing the stabbing as a "terrible incident" and extending condolences to the teen victim's friends and family.

"Like everyone, we are concerned and saddened by this attack and we take incidents like these extremely seriously," spokesperson Milly Bernal said in a statement. "The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority, and we will continue to work with Toronto Police Services as they investigate."

The boy's death is the latest in a string of violent incidents to plague the TTC, which has had to bolster safety measures in recent months to allay rising rider concerns.

Bernal said those measures include the addition of more special constable patrols on subways and extra uniformed staff deployed system-wide. 

"But we also know that there are bigger societal and systemic issues at play when it comes to the root causes of these incidents and we look forward to a broader discussion about what can be done to reduce all crime," Bernal added.

Toronto police stepped up its presence on the transit network in late January by enlisting more than 80 officers to put in overtime shifts to serve as extra patrols on the TTC. Those additional shifts came to an end on March 13.    

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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