A witness to a fatal stabbing near Hess Village in Hamilton says the victim, an 18-year-old man, was "stabbed in the heart."

Kelly Graca, 21, was with friends and family in the parking lot of a Tim Hortons on King Street West just west of Caroline Street at around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, when a fight broke out between a group of young men and a middle-aged passerby.

Onlookers, she said, moved in to try to restrain those involved in the fight. In the process, an 18-year-old man was "stabbed in the heart," said Graca, a medical administrator.

The victim, an acquaintance of Graca’s from her time at St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School, fell on top of her black Lincoln sedan.

According to Carmen D'Angelo, a spokesperson with the Hamilton Paramedic Service, someone was performing CPR on the victim when EMS crews arrived. Paramedics then took over the resuscitation effort, and took the man to Hamilton General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

Scene of Hamilton stabbing

Bloody paper towels lay on the asphalt in a central Hamilton parking lot on Sunday morning, near where an 18-year-old man had been stabbed just hours before. (Cory Ruf/CBC)

"It’s a shock," said Graca, who returned to the scene on Sunday morning to retrieve her car. "I haven’t slept all night."

Hamilton police arrested a 49-year-old man at the scene and have charged him with first degree murder.

Officers were called to the accused's residence earlier in the evening after he was involved in an altercation near the intersection of Market and Bay streets, police say. 

The parking lot, located just east of Hess Village, bore evidence of the stabbing when Graca came to pick up her car. Bloody paper towels and empty packages of epinephrine — signs of an intense effort to the revive the victim — still sat inches from the vehicle, which was parked on the northwest corner of the lot. A trail of what appeared to be blood spangled the nearby sidewalk.

Graca’s sister Silvia, 33, accompanied her to the Tim Hortons on Sunday morning. 

"One lapse of judgment and you can be on the floor," said Silvia, reflecting on the incident, "and then your life is suffocated."

This is the second homicide investigation to have been launched in Hamilton since Thursday.

On Friday morning, a shooting at an apartment building on Hess Street South sent two men to hospital.

One man, a 21-year-old from Mississauga, died of his wounds, while the other, a 23-year-old of no fixed address, was released from hospital and then arrested. He has been charged with second degree murder. 

Police are looking for a second suspect in Friday's shooting. 

He is described as male, 20 to 30 years of age, five feet 10 inches, 180 to 190 pounds, wearing a dark coat and dark pants.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the homicide unit at 905-546-4123 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.