Eight teenage girls who apparently met on social media have been charged with murder after a man was stabbed to death in Toronto.
Investigators allege the girls assaulted and stabbed the 59-year-old in the downtown area of the Canadian city early Sunday morning.
Doctors took the man to hospital where he died.
Police say three 13-year-old girls, three 14-year-old girls and two 16-year-old girls were arrested near the scene of the attack.
Detective Sergeant Terry Browne said investigators believed the girls were trying to take a bottle of alcohol from the man.
He said they were all “equally guilty”.
“There is no doubt in our minds that they were all working as a singular entity in a teeming mob mentality when they chose to attack this man,” DS Browne added.
He said a number of weapons were seized, but declined to say what type. He also said that three of the girls had already met with the police.
The girls met on social media, but DS Browne said police “do not know how or why they met that night”.
“It’s weird that they all met and found their way to downtown Toronto. Their primary residences are all over the place,” he said.
“I’ve been in policing for almost 35 years and you think you’ve seen it all,” DS Browne said.
“Anyone who isn’t shocked to hear something like that has clearly just thrown in the towel and said anything is possible in this world.
“Eight young girls and most are under 16. If that’s not alarming and shocking to everyone, then frankly, we’re all in trouble.”
DS Browne said police spoke to the teens’ parents.
“I can tell you it was a shock to learn that their children were involved in an event like this,” he said.
The victim lived in a homeless shelter and has not yet been named, DS Browne said.
He added that they would investigate whether the “spin-off” had seen a surge in popularity on social media.
The officer said that 20 or 30 years ago, young Toronto teenagers would invade others and try to steal Dr Martens boots or Air Jordan shoes, but that trend has faded.
Canadian authorities cannot release the girls’ names because they are minors. They made their first court appearance and are still in custody.
The girls’ next court appearance will be on December 29.