A stabbing on a moving subway train caused chaos in Toronto on Thursday afternoon as riders ran from the violent altercation.
The stabbing left a man in his 30s with serious injuries. Initially, his injuries were considered life-threatening. Later on Thursday, his condition was upgraded to stable.
Toronto police say they were called to Eglinton station at about 12:20 p.m. When they arrived, they found a man suffering from several stab wounds. Toronto paramedics rushed him to a nearby trauma centre.
His attacker, a man, fled the station and is still at large.
Duty Insp. Michelle Olszevski, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, told reporters outside the station that police from 53 Division and officers from forensic identification services, with the help of TTC security, are investigating and reviewing security camera footage.
She said police are aware that there is a video circulating on social media of the incident.
In that video, two men can be seen kicking and punching each other. At one point, blood can be seen seeping through the shirt of one man. That man then runs toward one end of the train, screaming, with the other man chasing him.
Subway riders, meanwhile, run to the other end of the train. Blood is visible on the subway car’s floor.
One rider says: “He’s stabbing him up” and “He’s killing him.” Another says: “I can’t get off the train.”
The man who stabbed the other is seen at the end of the video walking on the subway platform after the train pulls into the station.
WARNING | This report by CBC’s Greg Ross contains disturbing images:
Olszevski said many witnesses have spoken to police and anyone else who has video or who witnessed the stabbing is urged to come forward.
She said police are concerned about safety on the TTC.
“I can tell you that the Toronto Police Service is committed to safety of all citizens across the service, including those riding the TTC. And although TTC security is primarily in charge of security on the transit system, we do support them and we respond to all calls for service and emergencies on the transit system,” she said.
Police patrol the transit system on their regular shifts and take the safety of riders very seriously, she added.
The TTC bypassed Eglinton station for hours, with service resuming shortly after 8 p.m., and the stabbing shut down Line 1 service between Lawrence and Davisville stations. Shuttle buses replaced the subway trains as police investigated.
All bus service at Eglinton station was redirected to St. Clair station but regular bus service at Eglinton has resumed.
TTC says violence on its property ‘unacceptable’
Stuart Green, spokesperson for the TTC, said the transit agency learned on Thursday afternoon that a stabbing victim had been located inside Eglinton station.
“Our thoughts are with the victim at this uncertain time,” Green said.
“Safety of our customers and employees is paramount to all we do. While we don’t have any more information, incidents of violence on TTC property are unacceptable and are of great concern.”
Green said the TTC helped the police as it investigated the stabbing.
He added that the TTC has invested in additional safety and security measures and entered into partnerships with the city, police, community outreach and crisis response officials because it considers safety to be a priority.
‘It was just very confusing,’ rider says of aftermath
Saya Sedighi, a University of Toronto masters student in the department of molecular genetics, said she was entering the Eglinton station at about 12:20 p.m. and went downstairs to board a southbound train to go downtown.
“Once the door opened, a lot of people were rushing out,” she said.
“We were trying to get in and then people were shouting from the outside, ‘Don’t get in, someone’s got something,’ but we didn’t really hear it properly because on the TTC is really hard to hear what people are saying in the speakers,” she added.
“And then we all rushed out and we thought everything is settled. We were just waiting for the train to start moving and then we rushed in again and we rushed out again. It was just very confusing because we weren’t sure what is happening.”
Then some transit riders said someone got stabbed, she said,
Sedighi said transit riders weren’t sure what was happening until the police and paramedics arrived. Police told the transit riders that the station needed to be evacuated. There were no tweets from police or TTC for at least 15 minutes, she added.
“There wasn’t really clear instructions on how or like when or what shuttle buses to take or what is happening exactly,” she said.
Violent incidents on TTC ‘very scary,’ rider says
Sedighi said she takes the TTC twice a day and violent incidents are “very scary.”
“Honestly, it makes me feel that TTC is actually not as accessible as people think it is,” she said.
“It’s going to be either you live for another day, or you get stabbed on TTC, or you get a car, and it’s not really that easy. It makes me feel like TTC is actually not really that safe anymore and they’re not doing anything about it.”
Police described the suspect as five foot 10 to six feet tall, bald, wearing a green hooded sweatshirt, black jeans and black and gold sunglasses.
Anyone who witnessed the stabbing or has information relevant to the investigation is asked to contact police.