Landlord-tenant dispute turns ugly – Man, 67, is in critical condition – Landlord’s wife also stabbed
It began as a dispute between a landlord and tenant, turned into a house fire, and by the time it was over two people were in hospital with stab wounds.
Toronto police say they don’t know what specifically led to the altercation yesterday morning at the 1 1/2-storey brick home on Albani St., near Royal York Rd. and Lake Shore Blvd. W.
“We don’t have the full information, but there was nothing ongoing,” said Detective Michael Shanahan. “It seemed to be something that just happened at the moment.”
What investigators do know is that the tenant, who lived in a basement apartment, had a disagreement with the landlord and his wife, who resided in the rest of the house with their 9-year-old son. When the dispute broke out, the boy left the home and was unharmed.
During the altercation, police say, the woman sustained several severe stab wounds to her torso, while her husband received minor cuts to his hand after getting into a tussle with the tenant. At that point, the tenant barricaded himself in the basement and some bedding was set on fire, police say.
Firefighters arrived at the home after 8 a.m. to find the woman on the porch. Smoke was pouring out of the basement windows, but firefighters were unable to enter the home until Emergency Task Force officers arrived because an armed suspect was inside, said platoon chief B.J. Hansen.
As ETF officers surrounded the home, fire crews sprayed water into basement windows to keep the blaze under control.
Once inside, task force officers overpowered the suspect using a Taser gun and tear gas. They found a 30-centimetre bread knife, a smaller kitchen knife and a small hammer, police say, adding the suspect had self-inflicted stab wounds.
The entire operation took about one hour.
When firefighters were called, they thought they were going to a medical situation, Hansen said. But when their truck arrived on the scene and they saw there was a fire, they called for additional equipment. In the end, some 35 firefighters were at the house to make sure the blaze didn’t get out of control.
“Fortunately it wasn’t a serious fire,” Hansen said. “We were able to hold it down from the exterior.”
After the suspect was removed, he said, firefighters entered the home and mopped up spot fires.
“Everybody is in shock,” said resident Mary Lennon, who has lived in the area for 10 years. “We’re just really surprised. This is a quiet neighbourhood.”
The 67-year-old tenant is in critical condition with self-inflicted stab wounds, while the landlord’s wife is in stable condition after surgery. The names of the homeowners are not being released.
Mike Slocan faces charges of attempted murder, arson and endangering life.