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Man charged with 1st-degree murder in connection with death of volunteer at Toronto mosque

Click to play video: 'Police make arrest in fatal stabbing at Rexdale mosque' Police make arrest in fatal stabbing at Rexdale mosque
WATCH: A 34-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing of Mohamed-Aslim Zafis. As Erica Vella reports – Sep 18, 2020

Toronto police say a 34-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of a volunteer caretaker at a west-end mosque.

“This arrest is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of good people with the support of the community,” Supt. Ron Taverner told reporters Friday afternoon.

Click to play video: 'Toronto police announce arrest in Rexdale mosque homicide' Toronto police announce arrest in Rexdale mosque homicide
Toronto police announce arrest in Rexdale mosque homicide – Sep 18, 2020

It was at around 8:40 p.m. on Saturday while 58-year-old Mohamed-Aslim Zafis was seated outside of the IMO Mosque on Rexdale Boulevard, near Islington Avenue, performing health screening at the front doors. Officers said he was stabbed once by a male suspect before they left.

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Read more: Hundreds show for funeral held for man killed at Toronto mosque

After receiving information from the community, Homicide Squad Insp. Hank Idsinga said the accused was identified on Thursday and arrested on Friday.

“There doesn’t appear to be any motive and there doesn’t appear to be any known relationship between the accused and our victim,” he said.

Questions were raised about whether or not the death of Zafis was connected to the stabbing death of 39-year-old Rampreet (Peter) Singh since both were stabbed and in close proximity. His body was found off of the West Humber Trail underneath Highway 27 and near Humber College Boulevard on Sept. 7.

READ MORE: Toronto police continue probing fatal west-end stabbings

Investigators previously said Singh, who was homeless and lived under the bridge since April off and on, was believed to have been asleep when he was attacked by someone. It wasn’t known if he was targeted.

Idsinga was asked about a possible connection between the incident. He said the investigations are still ongoing and wouldn’t link the two stabbings.

“We continue to explore every possibility and we’ll go where the evidence takes us,” Idsinga said, adding officers are still trying to get search warrants related to the suspect arrested.

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Toronto resident Guilherme “William” Von Neutegem was charged with first-degree murder. He is set to appear in a Toronto court.

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