A 32-year-old woman received several stitches and is recovering at home after being stabbed by a stranger in what police call an “unprovoked attack” on a bus inSaturday morning.
The incident happened around 9:45 a.m. on board a TTC bus near Queen Street West and Tecumseth Avenue.
The woman, who does not want to be identified, tells Global News she and her boyfriend were falling asleep on the bus, when she felt something hit her shoulder.
“It was like a hard punch,” she said. The couple didn’t realize she had been stabbed, until they saw the attacker holding a knife that was partially concealed by his clothing.
“That’s when we realized something could be worse than just a hit,” her boyfriend said. “So I checked on it and I saw the wound — and then I started to freak out and tried to call 9-1-1 right away.”
The woman was taken to hospital, where she needed three stitches for a stab wound. She says the knife pierced through four layers of clothing, including a thick coat.
Panicked and confused, her boyfriend recalls asking the attacker, “What’s wrong, what happened? Did we do anything wrong?” He says he could only make out the word “respect” amidst indistinct mumbling.
Twenty-seven-year-old Dayer Rivera-Garzon was denied bail at a court hearing Wednesday. He was arrested Monday and is facing multiple charges including assault with a weapon, carrying a concealed weapon possessing a weapon for committing an offence and uttering threats of bodily harm.
Investigators say the public helped identify the suspect after several security images were released and circulated in the media.
The incident is one of multiple seemingly random attacks on Toronto’s public transit system in recent weeks.
On Nov. 26, a man wasat Bloor-Yonge station.
On Dec. 14, a 15-year-old boy was assaulted by a man on a TTC bus near O’Connor Drive and St. Clair Avenue East.
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And on Jan. 4, police say a man approached unknown passengers and sprayed them in the face with an unknown substance at both the Greenwood and Finch TTC subway stations.
After Saturday’s incident, the injured woman and her boyfriend say they are fearful for their safety in public.
“Will it happen again? That’s what we’re most concerned about,” her boyfriend said. “Now, every moment we walk onto a bus, we have to be more cautious. We can’t relax anymore, we have to make sure no one’s around.”
Rivera-Garzon remains in custody and is due back in court on Jan. 21.
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