Maryland man beaten to death in Toronto's Little Italy identified as Julian Jones

Toronto police identified an American who died after an attack early Saturday as Julian Jones, a 26-year-old man from Maryland.

'It's a matter of time before we hunt you down,' homicide detective says to suspects

Julian Jones, 26, died of his injuries early Saturday after he was attacked near College and Bathurst Streets (Toronto Police)

Toronto police have identified the American man who was beaten to death early Saturday morning near College and Bathurst Streets.

Det. Rob North, spokesman for the police's Homicide Squad, said Julian Jones, 26, was a resident of Maryland and engaged to be married.

North said Jones was a close friend of the person whose bachelor party was being celebrated in Toronto's Little Italy neighbourhood.

Jones was pronounced dead en route to hospital after he was assaulted near College and Bathurst Streets after 2:25 a.m. on Saturday. Det. North said Jones has friends in Toronto. 

"He was a hard working young man who came to this city to celebrate what was supposed to be a happy event," North said.

"Unfortunately, because of the actions of a few residents of this city, he doesn't have that opportunity to move forward with his life."
Det. Rob North said it's "only a matter of time" before police track down the suspects. (CBC)

Punched, kicked in the head

The investigation has revealed that Jones and his friends left a bar in Little Italy — Blnd Tger nightclub at 559 College St. — after a "night of fun." They encountered "an altercation in progress" and walked past it.

North said at that point Jones got separated from his friends.. He was punched once, kicked in the head repeatedly and "stomped on." He was pronounced dead in the ambulance.

He said the investigation has revealed that the attack was completely unprovoked.

"Mr. Jones did absolutely nothing wrong," he said.

North said Jones' friends from the U.S. have left the city.

A makeshift memorial sits on Manning Street, near where Julian Jones was found. (Makda Ghebreslassie/CBC News)

North said police are seeking two male suspects. He said a number of witnesses have come forward with video that identifies the suspects and other members of the group who were there when the attack occurred.

Police are continuing to canvas residences in the area for video.

Witness: Noise from attack sounded 'ominous'

A witness interviewed by CBC News saw part of the altercation from his nearby apartment, after hearing noise that sounded "more ominous" than the regular clamour of a Saturday night.

"There was a lot of guys," said the witness.

One person ran west, across the street, and someone else ran behind them and punched them, he said. Shortly after calling police, the witness saw a group of people gathered where the victim presumably fell.

The witness described the neighbourhood as safe, especially during the daytime.

"It's unfortunate that on Fridays and Saturday nights, sometimes at that time of night it turns into a completely different neighbourhood," he said.

Images of suspects are 'clear'

North said police will release images of the suspects in the next couple of days. He urged those responsible for the homicide to contact lawyers and to surrender to police.

"It's a matter of time before we hunt you down and bring you to justice," he said.

"The images are clear."

North said police also are interested in talking to other members of the group of seven to nine men who fled south on Manning Avenue towards Dundas Street West shortly after the attack.
Toronto police on scene after an American man, identified as Julian Jones, 26, was beaten to death in Little Italy. (Mehrdad Nazarahari/CBC)

"'I'm asking you directly, if you were not involved in any assault on Mr. Jones but you were a part of that group, have some conscience, come forward and make yourself known to police," he said.

"In the next few days, we will be releasing your identification via photo imaging. Your identity will become known and we will come knocking on your door."

The two male suspects are believed to be between 26 and 28 years old. The first is a white male, dressed in black. The second is a black male, with a larger build, wearing black skinny jeans and a black shirt. 

North said the investigation is proceeding at a "solid and rapid pace."

"Based on our investigation, I think if you punched somebody in the face, and they fall back and hit their head, then you stomp on their head, there would be no way you would not know the damage you caused," North said.