Toronto mother held dying son in her arms

A 20-year-old man who was stabbed to death in the area of Eglinton Avenue West and Nairn Avenue on Monday night staggered home and collapsed outside his apartment building, where his mother rushed to his side, police say.

'Mom, I'm dying'; stabbing victim in city's west end held by mother before police arrive

A mother found her fatally wounded son a short distance from their home. 1:17

A 20-year-old man who was stabbed to death in the area of Eglinton Avenue West and Nairn Avenue on Monday night staggered home and collapsed outside his apartment building, where his mother rushed to his side, police say.

Toronto police identified the victim as Michael Cocomello, also known as Michael Mandino.

Toronto police on Tuesday identified the man stabbed on Monday night as Michael Cocomello, 20, shown in this 2007 photo. He is also known as Michael Mandino. (Courtesy of Sandra Cocomello)

Insp. Ken Taylor told reporters that the stabbing happened near Thornton Avenue and Nairn Avenue. Police said that Cocomello left his home shortly before he was stabbed, and it's unclear why he headed to that location.

After the stabbing, the victim headed back home, falling and getting up a couple of times before he collapsed outside his apartment building on Nairn Avenue, south of Eglinton Avenue, police said.

"This is a very unfortunate incident," Taylor said. "One of the first responders to our deceased was in fact his mother, who came out of her apartment and tried to provide some assistance."

His mother, Sandra Cocomello, told CBC News she saw him coming up the road before going to help him.

"I heard yelling outside. And I ran outside to his body," she said. "And I held him. And I didn't know what to do. And he says, 'Mom, I'm dying.' And I just held him."

She said she held him in her arms until emergency workers arrived.

Sandra Cocomello says her son, Michael, had headed out Monday night to get bus tickets. (Peter Akman/CBC)

Cocomello was rushed to Sunnybrook Hospital at around 9:30 p.m. after he was found outside by people who heard him screaming for help.

He later died in hospital.  

Going to buy bus tickets

Taylor said Cocomello was known to police, but detectives don't believe at this stage that this is a factor.

"It's the working theory of the detectives that his contact with the police, which as I said is dated, has absolutely nothing to do with his murder," said Taylor.

Cocomello's mother told CBC News her son had planned to go out briefly that night.

"He was going to get bus tickets. And he said he'll be right back," she said.

Taylor said he believes Cocomello was targetted.

"It's not a random incident," he said. "It's not like somebody's randomly walking the streets with a knife. He was targeted," he said.

A Toronto EMS spokesperson told CBC News on Monday evening that the man was stabbed multiple times and had wounds to his torso and back.

Michael Cocomello was stabbed in the area of Eglinton Avenue West and Nairn Avenue on Monday night, Toronto police say. (Mehrdad Nazarahari/CBC)

Blood stains could be seen on a sidewalk and in the snow at the scene where the victim was found, as well as what appeared to be a black jacket.

Earlier Tuesday, Det. Ted Lioumanis said homicide detectives are canvassing the area and searching for video.

"Basically what we have from witnesses is that they did hear a person screaming," he said.

Police are asking for any witnesses or anyone with information to contact them.

With files from the CBC's Linda Ward and Peter Akman