Charges in 'panhandler' stabbing may be upgraded to murder
Charges in 'panhandler' stabbing may be upgraded
Police are expected to lay murder charges today after a St. Catharines, Ont. stabbing victim died of his wounds over the weekend.
Police said 32-year-old Ross Hammond, who was stabbed downtown after an early Thursday morning argument escalated into violence, died early Saturday morning.
The victim, who commuted into the city from St. Catharines, was stabbed near Queen Street West and Gore Vale Avenue shortly after 12:30 a.m.
Hammond was walking with a friend when he was approached by panhandlers asking for money, Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux said during a press conference.
Giroux said the two men refused to give the suspects money, and a verbal dispute ensued.
The argument escalated and the victim was stabbed several times in the chest and back. His friend was also assaulted, Giroux said.
Hammond was taken to St. Michael's hospital in serious condition, where he underwent a number of emergency surgeries. His condition deteriorated until he died Saturday.
Four panhandlers, all in their early 20s, currently face charges of aggravated assault and weapons offences.
The following suspects are in custody in connection with the incident:
* Douglas Fresh, 22;
* Nicole Kish, 21;
* Sarah McDermit, 22; and
* Jeremy Woolley, 21
The suspects are due in court this week. Woolley is also wanted on an outstanding warrant in the U.S., Giroux said.
While investigating the scene, police retrieved evidence from a taxi cab that was splattered with blood after the altercation. Hammond may have tried to flee by jumping into the taxi.
"He tried to get into the cab and the cab was still moving," one witness told CTV News.