A man is dead and a woman is in hospital after a stabbing at a central Hamilton apartment complex that has been described as a hub of drug activity. 

Emergency services received a call about an attack near the intersection of Barton Street East and Mary Street at around 10 p.m. Friday.

Paramedics took a 28-year-old man and a 39-year-old woman to hospital, police say. Both suffered multiple stab wounds.

The male victim was pronounced dead at the hospital, while the woman, whose injuries police described as “life-threatening,” was rushed into surgery.

After her operation, the woman was in “critical but stable condition,” Det. Sgt. Matt Kavanagh said in a news release Saturday.

Police have not released the name of either victim, nor have they commented on what they believe led up to the assault. 

'You could probably see it coming'

The stabbing occurred at 103 Barton St. E, a two-storey redbrick with street-level and upstairs apartments.

As police held the scene on Saturday morning, the door to one of the first-floor apartments lay open by several centimetres. Stains of what appeared to be blood were visible on the floor and on the bottom of the door frame. 

Paul Brown, 41, owns the house that sits immediately east of the block where attack took place.

“You could probably see it coming,” said Brown, who is working to convert the property he owns into a residence and job skills training centre for people looking to transition off of social assistance.

He estimated that 10 tenants live next door and said the complex is immersed in "drug culture, booze culture." 

“There’s a lot of drugs and shit like that in there,” he said.

The building's landlord wasn't immediately available for comment on Saturday morning, and no one answered when a reporter knocked on the door of other apartments that are in the block. 

'There’s a bunch of things we can do on this street to improve it.'—Paul Brown

Brown said he’s “definitely worried” about the safety of his three current tenants and plans to install security cameras on his property.

However, he noted the area has improved in the two years since he purchased the house. He said “there used to be a lot of drug activity” surrounding apartments on the northwest corner of Barton Street East and Mary Street — problems that have since subsided.

Brown said he’s financing the drop-in centre privately and plans for it to open in April. He hopes it will help bring positive change to the neighbourhood.

“There’s a bunch of things we can do on this street to improve it.”

Police looking for male suspect

Investigators continue to examine the crime scene on Saturday morning and have compiled a brief description of a possible suspect in the case, a man who is said to have fled the scene around the time of the stabbing.

Police are looking for the public’s help in finding a man who fits the following description:

  • 5'10'' to 6' tall
  • 150 to 170 lbs.
  • 30 to 35 years old
  • Dark brown or black short hair that is “neatly kept”
  • Last seen wearing blue jeans, a light-coloured shirt and a black leather coat

Police ask anyone with information on the fatal stabbing to call Det. Paul Staats at 905-546-4123 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.