Toronto lawyer threw garbage at vehicle before assault that sent him into coma

Toronto police updated their investigation into the New Year's Day assault of Toronto lawyer David Shellnutt Thursday. New video evidence shows Shellnutt throwing a bag of garbage at a passing vehicle before he was beaten and left unconscious.

David Shellnutt, 36, was assaulted by two men shortly after midnight on New Year's Day

Surveillance video shows the two assailants responsible for the attack. (Toronto Police Service)

Toronto police have released new video of the New Year's Day assault of Toronto lawyer David Shellnutt.

The surveillance video captures the incident, in which Shellnutt throws a bag of garbage at a passing vehicle before two men exit, assault him, and leave him unconscious on the sidewalk. You can watch the video below.

The attack took place shortly after midnight on Jan. 1 near Queen Street W. and Bathurst Street. Police previously described it as a "random attack," but officers now say Shellnutt also had a role in the incident.

"There is a verbal altercation between Mr. Shellnutt and the occupants of the vehicle," said Det. Scott Allan. 

While describing the video, Allan explained that Shellnutt "selects a bag of garbage and launches it towards the vehicle" after the verbal altercation takes place.

Witnesses at the scene have said the men in the vehicle were cat calling a woman walking with Shellnutt, which Allan acknowledged.

"That's the general perception that we've gotten," he said.

Victim attacked, punched in head while on ground

In the attack that followed, Shellnutt was punched and fell to the ground. His head slammed into the pavement, Allan said. As Shellnutt lay defenceless, a second attacker punched him in the head once more. 

The two suspects then fled the scene in a blue 2019 Dodge Charger with an unknown license plate number. Police say it may have been a rental car.

Toronto-based social justice lawyer David Shellnutt emerged from a coma earlier this week. (Submitted)

Police have not identified the suspects, but are appealing to witnesses in the busy area to come forward with information. Both are wanted for aggravated assault. Shellnutt is not facing any charges.

"I am optimistic that someone saw something," Scott said.

Shellnutt, who specializes in social justice cases, emerged from his coma around two weeks after the attack.

Earlier this week, Shellnutt made his first public comments since the attack.

"It is becoming clear that though I'm progressing well it will be a long road of recovery and rehabilitation," wrote Shellnutt on a GoFundMe page raising money for his treatment. 

The fund has raised $73,433 in donations so far.