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Toronto police seek 20-year-old in stabbing on Yonge subway

Toronto police have identified a man who is believed to have stabbed another passenger riding the subway Wednesday night, apparently at random, and are anxious to speak to anyone with information about the incident or the suspect.

The identification was made a few hours after good-quality images of the man were retrieved from the subway's video footage and distributed to media.

Cassim Celani Cummings of Toronto, 20, is wanted for attempted murder, aggravated assault, three weapons offences and breaching probation orders.

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He's considered armed and dangerous.

The attack occurred around 10:20 p.m. as a southbound train on the Yonge-Spadina line was approaching the Davisville station.

The 45-year-old victim, reportedly a resident of Barrie, was stabbed once in the neck and was taken to Sunnybrook hospital where he was treated for wounds described as serious but non-life threatening, Exactly what preceded the attack was unclear. Police said it seemed to have happened for no discernible reason, but one report said the victim was stabbed after he told the man to stop yelling and bothering people.

Another account said the victim was sitting alone when the suspect approached him and began talking. The victim stood up and told the man to leave him alone, and was then slashed across the neck, As the train pulled into the station, another passenger pressed the security alarm. The assailant disembarked and headed for the exit, where he was photographed in a series of closed-circuit photos.

Service on the subway line was interrupted as police arrived and searched the surrounding area, but the attacker escaped.

In one of the photos from the subway's camera system, he was holding what looks to be a knife, together with a white plastic bag. He was described as black, aged about 30 and six feet to six-foot-two in height with a thin build, wearing a black tuque, black pants and a black jacket with a hoodie.

Constable Tony Vella praised passengers who sounded the alarm and then went to the man's aid while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

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Within the Toronto Transit System, attacks such as this – stranger-on-stranger violence, and violence with a knife – are extremely rare, he added. "It's unusual. Obviously this is not an everyday occurrence."

Anyone with further information is asked to call police at 416-808-5300 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

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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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