Former CBC editor killed in 'random' Toronto assault, suspect remains at large

A random assault in Toronto took the life of a longtime CBC journalist and editor, remembered for his 'exceptional storytelling.' Michael Finlay, 73, died Tuesday from 'medical complications' following the incident.

Former CBC editor killed in 'random' Toronto assault, suspect remains at large
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Toronto law enforcement said the attack against Finley occurred around 3:30 pm on January 24 while he walked between Danforth and Jones avenues. They said the assailant fled the scene shortly after pushing the victim to the ground, mortally wounding him.

He later succumbed to his injuries a week later in the hospital.

On Wednesday, Chuck Thompson, head of public affairs for the CBC, told Global News that the publication would remember Finlay as an "exceptional storyteller, documentary-maker and editor."

"He travelled the world producing radio documentaries for several programs but most notably for Sunday Morning," reads the statement. "If you worked on a documentary with Michael, you were experiencing the pinnacle of the craft."

Thompson remembered Finlay for "knowing everything about every news story here at home and abroad."

"He pushed journalists and producers to tell great stories, and they knew he always had their back in the field," continued Thompson. 

"Michael had strong convictions about writing, story and structure. Every reporter he ever worked with said their story was better because of Michael."

After performing an autopsy Wednesday, Toronto Police have classified the case as a homicide and have issued an arrest warrant for 43-year-old Robert Robin Cropearedwolf on the charge of manslaughter.

Det. Jason Hillier said that police do not believe the victim and assailant knew each other before the incident.

"It does appear to be a chance meeting," said Hillier. "Mr. Cropearedwolf, if you are watching this, I encourage you to speak to a lawyer and turn yourself into the nearest police station." 

"I also encourage anybody with information that knows his whereabouts to contact us so we can get him into custody."

Hillier confirmed that Finlay remained conscious following the attack. Paramedics later transported him to the hospital, where he spoke with officers before passing.

Hillier said that soon after Finlay reached the hospital, his condition deteriorated from an injury he sustained during the assault.

Law enforcement credited the community with assisting police in quickly identifying Cropearedwolf as the suspect after they released surveillance footage showing the person that investigators believed was responsible for Finlay's passing.

"To this point, the community has been outstanding," added Hillier. "They have provided us with closed-circuit television video, and numerous witnesses have come forward." 

"It's been key in leading the investigators in finding Mr. Cropearedwolf and believing him to be responsible for this assault," he said.

At Gabby's on Danforth Avenue, locals laid a table in Finlay's honour on Wednesday with a reserved sign and a crossword. 

Finlay frequented Gabby's for more than ten years. Staff said he would complete the crossword in their establishment as part of his daily routine. 

He retired from the CBC in 2010 after 31 years with the company.

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