The Canadian teenager suspected in the February attack on an erotic massage parlor in Toronto that left one woman dead was reportedly inspired by the incel movement, according to local media reports.
According to Global News, the 17-year-old boy accused of killing 24-year-old Ashley Noell Arzaga and injuring two other people at the Crown Spa on Feb. 24 now faces charges for alleged “murder—terrorist activity.”
The suspect, who has not been publicly identified, was previously charged with first-degree and attempted murder for the attack. Authorities now believe the violence was inspired by the incel movement—an online community of men who blame women for making them involuntary celibate—and the attack is being treated as an act of terrorism.
Toronto police said that around 12:40 p.m. on Feb. 24, officers arrived at the parlor after receiving reports of a woman being stabbed with a machete.
“[Callers] were saying they had a female outside, that she was covered in blood, and also a male was lying outside of the premise,” Insp. Darren Alldrit told reporters at the time.
Inside Crown Spa, whose website boasts their signature “sensual body rubs,” authorities found Arzaga fatally stabbed. The suspect and another woman were both transported to a local hospital and treated for “laceration-type injuries.”
“With the utmost sadness we are forced to say goodbye to Ashley,” a GoFundMe set up to support the woman’s family and daughter said. “Words cannot express the shock and grief that has come to everyone blessed enough to have crossed paths with Ashley.”
While authorities have not released a motive behind the slayings, the Global News reported Tuesday that the attack was inspired by the incel movement of men who’ve promoted violence against women online.
Incel ideology allegedly inspired the 2014 Santa Barbara shooting spree—during which 22-year-old Elliot Rodger murdered six people and wounded over a dozen—and the 2018 Toronto van attack that left 10 dead.
“What begins as a personal grievance due to perceived rejection by women may morph into allegiance to, and attempts to further, an incel rebellion,” a January Texas Department of Public Safety report said. “The result has thrust the incel movement into the realm of domestic terrorism.”
According to the Global News, a source indicated the 17-year-old was familiar with both the Toronto attack and Rodger, who left behind a 137-page manifesto before he died by suicide after the incident in Isla Vista, California.
In his manifesto, Rodger described how he felt shunned by women and sought revenge. He had also reportedly shown an interest in Nazis and had conducted internet searches about how to “silently kill” with a knife.