Tibetan community in Toronto marks moment of silence for woman lit on fire in bus attack

Toronto's Tibetan community held a moment of silence on Wednesday for a woman who died this week after she was set on fire on a transit bus in June.

Toronto police have confirmed that victim died in hospital

Members of Toronto's Tibetan community hold a moment of silence for a woman who died after she was set on fire on a TTC bus. She was attacked on June 17 at Kipling station. (CBC)

Members of the Toronto Tibetan community observed a moment of silence on Wednesday for a woman who died this week after she was set on fire on a TTC bus.

Toronto police confirmed on Tuesday that the woman died in hospital. She was attacked at Kipling station, which is near Kipling Avenue and Dundas Avenue West, at about 12:25 p.m. on June 17.

Sources have told CBC News the victim,  who was a member of the city's Tibetan community, died Tuesday.

Community members marked the moment of silence at an event celebrating the 87th birthday of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader. The event was held in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood on the grounds of Parkdale Collegiate Institute and the moment followed a ceremonial dance.

"Nobody expected something like this to happen," Kalsang Phuntsok, president of the Tibetan Association of Ontario, told CBC News at the event.

"It's really unfortunate and a very sad event. A lot of Tibetans don't expect something like that to happen randomly. Most of them are quite shocked."

Tibetan women take part in a ceremonial dance at an event in Parkdale marking the 87th birthday of the Dalai Lama. (Carly Thomas/CBC)

Phuntsok said people are saying special prayers for the woman and her family. 

Tenzin Nyidon, who was at the event, said she felt overwhelmed when she heard the news that the woman had died. She had thought the woman was going to recover. Then she said a prayer for her.

"It's very sad. It's really, really sad. It's really, really shocking," she said. "The Dalai Lama always preached peace and compassion, and now that this has happened, it's contradicting and overwhelming and sad. All those feelings."

Police had said a man on the bus poured a liquid substance on the woman and ignited it. He was arrested nearby and was charged. Police said they suspected the attack was motivated by hate and was random.

Toronto paramedics rushed the woman to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. At the time, police said she had suffered second- and third-degree burns.

The woman's age has not been released.

Tenzin Norbu, 33, has been charged with attempted murder, assault with a weapon, common nuisance endangering lives and safety of the public, and mischief over $5,000 interfering with property. He remains in custody and is due back in court on July 18.

Const. Alex Li, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said there's no word yet on if or when the attempted murder charge will be upgraded. The decision to upgrade has to be made by the homicide unit, he said.

In a statement posted to an online fundraiser, the woman's sister says: "Thank you everyone for all the support. We are so grateful, and it has been a difficult time. My sister lived a life of service to others and cared for many people."

The statement says donations, which have now reached more than $34,000, will be used for funeral expenses and health-care costs. The family is asking for privacy at this time.

"To my sister, we love you and we miss you. We wish her soul to rest in peace."