Toronto

Police seeking witnesses after 2 women assaulted in Roncesvalles neighbourhood

Toronto Police are investigating two separate assaults in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood that occurred earlier this week — after two women said they had been attacked.

1 woman says a man came up from behind Tuesday night and began to punch her

Two women said they had been attacked — one said a man punched her, the second said a man threw a drink in her face without warning. 2:06

Toronto Police are investigating two separate assaults in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood that occurred earlier this week — after two women said they had been attacked.

One of the women, Abigail Gamble, says she was caught off guard while walking near Roncesvalles Avenue and Howard Park Avenue Tuesday night.

"It just came out of absolutely nowhere," Gamble told CBC Toronto.

She says she heard footsteps from behind and as she was turning, a man immediately began to punch her. 

"I've never seen him before; he wasn't around me. He ran to catch up with me and to hit me." 

She says the man tried to punch her again in the face but she blocked and fled. 

Gamble reported it to the police right away and tweeted about it Wednesday to warn others in her neighbourhood. 

"TORONTO WOMEN BEWARE: Last night in Roncesvalles a man ran up behind me as I was walking alone & punched me, twice," the tweet reads. 

"He didn't say a word, assaulted me, then ran away after I yelled at him," her post continues. She also included a description.

Police describe the suspect as 5'9" to 5'10" with an athletic build and black hair. They say he was wearing a surgical mask, dark athletic clothing and running shoes. They're asking any witnesses or anyone with surveillance video to contact them at 416-808-1100 or at Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

Gamble's tweet prompted others to share similar experiences they had in the area — including one woman who said the the man Gamble described was identical to the person who attacked her the night before. 

Jessica Cimo says the man threw a drink in her face without warning while she was out biking southbound with her partner on Sorauren and Garden avenues. 

Cimo says Gamble's tweet made her realize this wasn't just a one-off incident, and knowing that it happened to another person prompted her to share her story and also file a police report. 

"I don't want this person to think that our neighbourhood is going to take that," Cimo told CBC Toronto.

Police say it's too early to tell if the two incidents are connected.

Jessica Cimo says Gamble alerting the neighbourhood inspired her to come forward and file a police report about an attack on her the previous night by with a suspect who fit the same description. (Kelda Yuen/CBC)
 

Gamble says seeing the reaction made her realize the significant impact that sharing one's story can have on others.. 

"The response from people, mostly women, has been astounding — the support, the stories other women are sharing," Gamble said.

"It's just so important for women, knowing that we are the target of gender-based violence — ...  to stand together as a community and to talk publicly." 

With files from Kelda Yuen

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