Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Alleged Toronto TTC subway pusher charged with murder on June 18, 2018

TORONTO — Toronto Police have charged a 57-year-old man with first-degree murder for allegedly pushing a transit rider in front of a subway at the Yonge-Bloor station.

Toronto Police Det. Rob North said the unidentified victim was an “Asian man who is in his 50s or 60s” with “white hair and white eyebrows.”

For “investigative purposes” police also did not name their accused but said he will be appearing in court at the College Park Tuesday at 10 a.m.

However, sources identified the accused as John Reszetnik.

“We believe at this time based on our information that the male (victim) was pushed,” said North.

North urged “seven or eight witnesses” investigators can see on TTC security cameras to come forward and provide statements to police.

He said video shows some witnessed the alleged murder and may have heard “utterances.”

At this point, police believe the accused and victim did not know each other and that they had no previous contact.

North alleged that it appears the victim was about to get on the eastbound train when he was “sort of pushed and fell under the train.”

The accused, who is believed to have an address in Scarborough, went a “short distance from the scene and then walked back to the scene.”

He was apprehended about 20 minutes after the incident. Sources say he is known to police.

North said the accused man’s mental health “is something we are definitely looking into.”

This case is eerily similar to the September, 1997 subway platform murder of Charlene Minkowski, 23. She was surprised by a 41-year-old Herbert Cheong who pushed her into the path of an oncoming train at Dundas station. Cheong pleaded guilty of second-degree murder.

He was known to have a 20-year battle with mental illness and had been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic.

He was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 15 years — five years more than the mandatory minimum for the conviction.

Monday was a tough day for those who deal with TTC emergency calls. Police also received a second call Monday morning about a person hit nearby by a train at College station, about 15 minutes after the first call to Bloor.

“This looks like an intentional suicide. We need to review the tapes to be sure,” said police spokesman Gary Long. Due to the subway closures, TTC riders were forced to take shuttle buses, leading to frayed nerves, especially after the skies opened up.

TTC spokesman Stuart Green said 59 shuttle buses were ordered to tranport inconvenienced riders.

“It’s uncommon to have two incidents so close together,” Green said.

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