LONDON, Ont. – One woman was clinging to life after being stabbed during a wild weekend street brawl between two groups of women in London’s SoHo neighbourhood.
As many as 12 women were involved in the clash between two groups police said met for a fight.
The city’s third stabbing in less than two weeks, it came four days after a man was critically injured in a knife attack at a public housing building.
Police say two groups of women who knew each other met up at Grey and Clarence streets for a “consensual physical altercation” early Sunday morning.
Keith Gunn was inside his Clarence St. home when he heard what he described as a rowdy group of women walking east on Grey around 1:30 a.m. He looked out his window and saw a group of women, two of whom were fighting in the street.
“It just looked like a girl fight,” said Gunn, who counted between eight and 12 women, whom he estimated were in their 20s.
The dust-up soon drew in more women from the group before devolving into shoving and shouting, said Gunn, who watched one woman sitting on the curb lose consciousness. Neighbours yelled that police had been called and some of the women fled the scene, he said.
Police arrived and found three injured women, one with multiple stab wounds, and arrested four people, two of whom were later released without charges.
“There’s no other suspects,” said Const. Chris Loizides.
The stabbing victim, whose identity hadn’t been released, was in critical condition Sunday night. The other two women had been discharged from hospital, Loizides said.
Tabitha Cooper, 24, of London, is charged with aggravated assault in relation to the stabbing.
Sophia Cooper, 20, also of London, is charged with aggravated assault after another woman was left with facial injuries.
“They all knew each other,” Loizides said of the two groups involved. “There was definitely a meeting of sorts at that location.”
Police were still canvassing the area Sunday evening, looking for witnesses to the dust-up and evidence.
Investigators had a large portion of the block in the SoHo — or south of Horton Street — area cordoned off until late afternoon.
One elderly women who lives nearby watched as investigators placed evidence markers along the sidewalk to mark blood drops.
She said a police officer also searched the garden in front of her house.
“I saw a policeman looking for something — maybe a knife,” said the woman, who didn’t want give her name.
Investigators wouldn’t say whether a weapon had been retrieved.
Signs of the bloodshed were still visible on the sidewalk and road where the fight happened.
The grisly scene drew a crowd of curious onlookers Sunday night. One man carrying a bag of McDonald’s food walked up and snapped a photo with his cellphone. Minutes later, a man with a high-end Canon camera did the same thing.
Neighbours say the area has its share of crime, but it’s been improving in recent years.
“I’ve been here over 30 years so nothing surprises me,” said Joe Leunissen, who lives about 10 metres from the crime scene.
Leunissen, who works at The London Free Press distribution centre, said he saw police searching the area with what appeared to be a metal detector.
The latest stabbing followed a near-fatal one last Tuesday.
A 33-year-old man was charged with multiple offences including aggravated assault after a man was stabbed inside a unit a pubic housing apartment building on Wharncliffe Rd., just north of Oxford St.
Five days earlier, a man was seriously hurt after he was stabbed during an argument on Huron Street.