The city’s public safety minister urged Torontonians to be vigilant and work with police in order to identify and protect witnesses in the case.
The victim, identified as 26-year-old Branden Naugler, was stabbed outside an apartment complex in the city’s east end on Wednesday evening. Video released by police shows him speaking with another man before a large group can be seen approaching them. Naugler remains in critical condition at St. Michael’s Hospital.
Earlier this week, Toronto saw 32 people shot and killed in a single weekend.
Reham Saleem, the widow of slain Ragz Saleem — a Canadian citizen who was gunned down by a Syrian refugee in the city in March 2016 — has previously encouraged residents not to be complacent as the city grapples with rising crime.
“I was telling my son, the situation is getting worse and worse. It’s like there is this anxiety in your body. Everyone can’t be protected,” Ms. Saleem told the Toronto Star. “You have to keep the faith, pray and keep on doing what you’re doing.”
Toronto’s murder toll is four times that of New York City, a ratio that has made the city something of a breeding ground for some of the deadliest inner-city gun violence in North America.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has called for tougher laws that would allow police to arrest a suspect under the influence of “wonderful but equally intoxicating substances” such as drugs and alcohol. On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government would send a “plan for progress” on public safety to the provinces, the last federal government not to have already done so.
On Tuesday, Trudeau issued a national security advisory advising Canadians to exercise a heightened degree of vigilance in the wake of recent concerns about an unnamed “threat”. According to Toronto Police, none of the other shootings were related.
Speaking to reporters in Guelph on Thursday, the prime minister urged the public to work with police.
“If you’re worried or seeing something that makes you worried, please just go to your local police. We ask you to do that. But we have to look at the bigger picture,” Trudeau said. “We need to ensure we can combine these resources to do that work.”