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Night of mayhem in Toronto leaves five injured

A violent night in Toronto has left five people injured in disparate incidents, including a taxi driver stabbed by a passenger – the third attack on a cabbie in less than a week.

In all, three people were stabbed overnight and two others shot, none fatally.

The taxi stabbing occurred near Jane Street and Lawrence Avenue around 11 p.m., Tuesday, police said, when a passenger leaned over into the front seat and stabbed the driver before fleeing.

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The driver, in his 50s, was expected to make a good recovery, but the assault follows a similar attack last week in southern Etobicoke when a cab driver was badly stabbed by a man who then stole the taxi.

An 18-year-old man captured shortly afterward faces multiple charges in that incident, which came just hours after another taxi robbery, this time in North York, when a cab driver was choked and robbed by a passenger.

Also Tuesday night, shortly after 9 p.m. a woman was taken to hospital after being stabbed during a party at an apartment building on Weston Road, near Sheppard Avenue West.

Then, about two hours later, there was a third victim – a 25-year-old man who was knifed several times on Falstaff Avenue, near Jane Street and Highway 401.

No arrests had been made in any of those three stabbings.

Two shootings, meanwhile, were under investigation, The most serious occurred in the west end at an upscale high-rise apartment building near Keele Avenue and Bloor Street West.

Police were called to 299 Glenlake Ave., at around 10:30 p.m. and found a man seriously injured, with a gunshot wound to the back.

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An arrest was made near the scene, police said, and at least three other suspects were being sought.

And in another shooting in Rexdale, a 25-year-old man was wounded when he was shot in the leg near the trouble-plagued Jamestown housing complex.

The Toronto chapter of the iTaxiworkers Association lobby group responded to the latest  assault on a cabbie by calling for  tougher penalties  for criminals who target drivers, and demanding a meeting with Police Chief Bill Blair and Mayor Rob Ford.

"Drivers are terrified, we all live with the constant fear of assault and death," the organization said in a release.

Greater investigative resources are also needed to combat crimes against taxi drivers, association president Sajid Mughal added. He cited statistics indicating that more than 50 per cent of its members have reported being physically assaulted or attacked on the job, and that 70 per cent  have felt in physical danger.

Police later provided further details of the incident.

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The unidentified taxi driver had picked up a fare  in the Keele Street/Wilson Avenue area and was directed to an address at Jane Street and Macdonald Avenue.

On arriving, the cabbie was told to drive into a laneway, where he was stabbed in the stomach.

Exiting his cab, which was still in drive, he was run over by his vehicle and then robbed of cash by his attacker, who then fled.

The sole description of his assailant is that he was black, aged about 25, weighing roughly 150 pounds and wearing a dark jacket.

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About the Author

At The Globe and Mail since 1982, in assorted manifestations, chiefly crime reporter, foreign correspondent and member of the Editorial Board, Tim is now retired. More

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