Charges against 37-year-old Ryan Cunneen, who is accused of fatally pushing an elderly woman from the sidewalk along a busy Toronto street late last week, have been upgraded from aggravated assault to manslaughter, marking the city’s second official homicide case of 2023.
Toronto Police announced the news Tuesday, noting that the service’s Homicide and Missing Persons Unit had taken carriage of what had initially been deemed an assault investigation.
Cunneen, who is from Toronto, is alleged to have killed an 89-year-old woman (who has yet to be publicly identified) on Friday, January 20, around 11:40 a.m., in the area of Yonge Street and King Street East.
News Release – Man Arrested in an Aggravated Assault Investigation, Yonge Street and King Street East area, Ryan Cunneen, 37, Update, Homicide #2/2023, Charges Upgraded to Manslaughterhttps://t.co/zVoriuZWRB pic.twitter.com/4JhiCnWDAg
— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) January 24, 2023
Police say the victim was walking on the sidewalk when she was “pushed by the accused and fell to the ground” for reasons that are not yet clear.
The suspect fled the area but was arrested by police roughly one hour later, just a few blocks away, on Richmond Street.
Calling the attack “unprovoked,” acting Toronto Police Inspector Craig Young explained during a press conference on Friday that the woman was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of her injuries, despite the best efforts of emergency responders.
In addition to the charge of manslaughter, Cunneen was also charged on Friday with Mischief Under $5000. Police say that the suspect had thrown a brick through the window of a business in the Church Street and Front Street East area prior to the deadly attack.
Woman dead after ‘unprovoked attack’ on downtown Toronto sidewalk https://t.co/YsAUYANlWb #Toronto #Attack
— blogTO (@blogTO) January 21, 2023
“Today we see another example of what appears to be a random violent attack on an innocent person in our city – something that has become far too common in cities across Canada,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory in a statement regarding the case on Friday evening.
“An elderly woman walking down our main street in the middle of the day has lost her life in what police are describing as a ‘reportedly unprovoked attack.’ This is a tragedy and my condolences are with the woman’s family and loved ones.”