A nearby crosswalk in Toronto.
Credits: QMI AGENCY
TORONTO -- A violent sexual predator burst into a home in an upscale north-end neighbourhood and attacked two women at knifepoint.
Police say the seemingly random sex assaults occurred in the Avenue Rd.-Lawrence Ave. W. area around 10 a.m. Monday.
"A man knocked on the door of the home pretending to solicit newspaper sales," Const. Tony Vella said, adding one of the two women in the residence answered the door.
"The man forced his way inside the home and sexually assaulted both women," Vella said.
He said the victims, who are ages 30 and 25, did not know the man.
A "struggle ensued" between the intruder and the women, and the man suffered "a wound to his torso," Vella said.
The attacker fled, but it's believed the stranger's blood was left behind at the scene.
One victim was taken to hospital, but police have not released details of her injuries.
Safe in their homes as the news broke around the dinner hour, residents reacted in shock and fear.
"It's terribly shocking and upsetting to the whole neighbourhood," one resident said.
"It's like you see on television ... it's horrible," he added. "They should catch the son-of-a ..."
Walking towards his home, after parking his car on the darkened street and talking by cellphone "with my daughter, who was home all day," he said the street is not immune to crime, adding "my son has been robbed of his cellphone."
A middle-aged neighbour, who at first refused to answer her door, told a reporter "there's a sexual attacker.
"I know who it happened to," she said.
An officer said he and colleagues were going door-to-door, canvassing residents for clues, briefing them about the attacks and suggesting safety precautions.
"I'm shocked and disappointed, and concerned," Dan, a resident who didn't want his last name used, said at his front door as his 14-month-old child called out.
"There are tons of kids on this street ... it's scary," he said.
His wife, who didn't want her name used, said "up until two months ago, I was home every day. That's pretty scary."
Police described the attacker as white, 5-foot-10 to 6-feet, with a medium build and short, dark hair.
He wore a black nylon jacket, black pants, a grey shirt and carried a white bag.
Police are appealing to homeowners in the area who have security cameras to review footage from Monday morning.