Cindy Li , CNN Written by
A man was rushed to hospital following an apparent assault in Toronto’s financial district Wednesday night, police said.
A witness told CNN that the victim was stabbed in the head, neck and chest following an altercation in the area of Jarvis Street and Dufferin Street, close to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce headquarters.
The stabbing comes at a time of heightened tensions in Canada following the arrest of an Ontario man on charges he supported the gunman in a deadly shooting last month at a mosque in Quebec City.
As he was being charged, the accused said he was Muslim and wanted to stay in Canada. Police officials have said they are aware of the comments.
Authorities in Toronto, Vancouver and Quebec have been increasing their presence at mosques following the attacks and a national debate about the realities of Islamic religious and cultural practices in the country.
The incident Wednesday night in Toronto appears to have been violent and unprovoked, police said.
A student who was a few blocks away when the incident occurred said there were a number of police officers and bystanders within a few feet of the victim after he was injured.
“A gentleman came down, he got stabbed, he was bleeding from the neck,” Kayti Sareen told CNN. “He was screaming, ‘I’m going to die, I’m going to die.’ He was pretty visibly hurt.”
Officials at St. Michael’s Hospital said the victim was in “serious but stable” condition. A spokesperson added that he arrived at the hospital in critical condition and underwent emergency surgery but that he’s now stable.
Sareen told CNN that the victim was trying to protect himself and was wearing a red shirt at the time of the incident.
Police spokesperson Victor Kwong told CNN that no one had been arrested in connection with the stabbing as of Thursday morning.
Journalist David M. Gelles told CNN that he was in the area and witnessed the man being treated by paramedics as well as bystanders. He saw police on the scene and said that the victim appeared to be under age.
“I saw the man was stabbed on the side of his head, in the cheek, with a blade not too big, like a 4-incher,” Gelles told CNN.
He also said witnesses told him that a man was arguing with two other men, then “went berserk” and stabbed the victim before fleeing.
CNN has attempted to contact the witness who witnessed the incident for further comment.
Police released a photo of a man they described as a “person of interest.” Police said there was no public threat and that they have increased patrols in the area.