Toronto machete attack

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Toronto machete attack
LocationToronto, Ontario, Canada
Date24 February 2020 (UTC−03:00)
Attack type
Slashing, terrorism
Injured2 (including the perpetrator)
PerpetratorOguzhan Sert[1]
MotiveIncel ideology

The Toronto machete attack was a misogynist terrorist attack in a Toronto erotic spa on 24 February 2020.[2][3][4][5][6]


Surveillance video showed the perpetrator leaving his home by foot towards the spa which was less than two kilometres from his home.[7] At the spa he drew a 17-inch sword and killed receptionist Ashley Arzaga. The sword was engraved with the words "thot slayer." Thot is a slang word for a sexually promiscuous woman similar to "whore."[7][8][9]

The owner of the spa observed the attack and was set upon by the perpetrator.[3][10] As the owner and the perpetrator struggled on the floor, the owner disarmed the perpetrator and stabbed him in the back, critically injuring him.[3][7][8][9][10] During the attack, the perpetrator shouted misogynistic expletives.[8][9] The owner of the spa suffered serious injuries to her arm and finger.[10]


Emergency crews were called to the spa after reports of a bleeding man and woman outside. They were taken to hospital with serious injuries.[2][5]

Inside the spa, a woman was found dead. She was later identified as 24-year-old Ashley Noell Arzaga.[5][2] She was described by friends as a doting mother to a five-year-old girl.[5][11]


The 17-year-old perpetrator was arrested and charged with first degree murder and attempted murder.[2] The Youth Criminal Justice Act prevents him from being named because of his age.[2][12][5]

A note was found on the perpetrator which read "Long Live the Incel Rebellion."[7][8][9] The perpetrator told paramedics that he had come to the spa to kill everyone inside the building and that he was glad to have killed one person.[7][8][9] A forensic search of the perpetrator's computer found web searches related to incels and images of Alek Minassian and another incel mass killer.[7][8] The perpetrator's profile on Steam stated that he was a "Proud Incel."[8] When asked by police why he identified as an incel, the perpetrator stated: "You don't choose to become an incel. You are born one."[7]

In May 2020, the charges were upgraded to "murder - terrorist activity" and "attempted murder - terrorist activity".[3][4][12] In a joint statement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Toronto Police Service announced that investigations had determined that the attack "was inspired by the Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremist (IMVE) movement commonly known as INCEL".[3][4] Incels are members of a misogynistic online subculture that define themselves as unable to find a romantic or sexual partner. The RCMP and TPS also said: "As a result, federal and provincial Attorneys General have consented to commence terrorism proceedings, alleging that the murder was terrorist activity ... and the attempted murder was terrorist activity."[3][4][5] This was the first time in Canada that someone was charged with terrorism because of a misogynist ideology.[13]

On September 14, 2022, the perpetrator entered a guilty plea to murder and attempted murder.[7][8][9] The attack was ruled a terrorist attack during sentencing proceedings.[14] On November 28, 2023, the perpetrator was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 10 years. Additionally, a concurrent three-year sentence was imposed for attempted murder.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Isai, Vjosa. "In Canada, a Judge Sentences an Incel Killer as a Terrorist". The New York Times. Retrieved November 29, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e Westoll, Nick (February 25, 2020). "17-year-old charged with 1st-degree murder after stabbing at Toronto massage parlour". Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Bell, Stewart; Russell, Andrew; McDonald, Catherine (May 19, 2020). "Deadly attack at Toronto erotic spa was incel terrorism, police allege". Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Bolsvert, Nick (May 19, 2020). "Homicide at Toronto massage parlour was an act of incel terrorism, police say". Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Herhalt, Chris (May 19, 2020). "Massage parlour stabbing was act of 'incel' terrorism: RCMP". CP24. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  6. ^ D'andrea, Aaron (February 28, 2020). "Murder at 'erotic' North York spa prompts safety cries from advocates". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on September 14, 2022. Retrieved September 14, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Nassar, Shanifa (September 14, 2022). "Toronto spa killer pleads guilty to murder in deadly sword attack, cites van attacker as 'inspiration'".
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Hasham, Alyshah (September 14, 2022). "17-year-old spa killer said he was inspired by Toronto van attack, cited 'incel rebellion'". Toronto Star.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Mandel, Michele (September 14, 2022). "MANDEL: Guilty plea in alleged incel-inspired sword attack on Toronto spa worker". Toronto Sun.
  10. ^ a b c Golding, Janice (February 25, 2020). "Teen charged in fatal stabbing at Downsview massage parlour; victim identified". CP24.
  11. ^ Connor, Kevin (February 26, 2020). "Spa murder victim a 'kind, loving' mom of one: GoFundMe". Toronto Sun.
  12. ^ a b Cecco, Leyland (May 19, 2020). "Canada police say machete killing was 'incel' terror attack". The Guardian. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  13. ^ "Canada lays first ever terror charges in a murder linked to misogynist movement". NewsBank. Agence France-Presse. May 20, 2020.
  14. ^ "Incel-inspired Toronto massage parlour murder was act of terror, judge rules". CBC News. June 6, 2023. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  15. ^ Loriggio, Paola. "Man who pleaded guilty in incel-inspired Toronto murder sentenced to life in prison". CBC. Retrieved November 29, 2023.