The death of a longtime CBC journalist who was shoved to the ground in Toronto’s Greektown neighbourhood last week has now been classified as a homicide and police have issued an arrest warrant for a suspect in the case.

Det. Jason Hillier made the announcement during a press conference on Friday afternoon, telling reporters that investigators believe 73-year-old Michael Finlay was assaulted following a “chance encounter” with a suspect he didn’t know on Danforth Avenue near Jones Avenue on Jan. 24.

Robert Robin Cropearedwolf, 43, is now wanted for manslaughter in connection with the incident.

“Both parties aren’t believed to be known to each other and it does appear to be a happen chance meeting,” Hillier said. “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 know his whereabouts to please contact us so that we can get him into custody.”

Hillier said that investigators are not aware of any interaction between the suspect and Finlay prior to the assault.

He said that Finlay was conscious when he was transported to hospital and spoke with officers at the time.

But Finlay’s condition later deteriorated and he died on Tuesday as a result of the injury he sustained during the assault, Hillier said.

The identification of a suspect in the case comes two days after police released a surveillance camera image showing the person that investigators believed was responsible.

Speaking with reporters outside 55 Division headquarters, Hillier credited the community’s assistance in helping police identify a suspect so quickly.

“To this point, the community has been outstanding. They have provided us with closed circuit television video and we've had numerous witnesses 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.

Tributes continue to pour in

Finlay was a former producer and editor who spent 31 years with the CBC prior to his retirement in 2010.

In a statement released earlier this week, CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson said that Finlay will be remembered as an “exceptional story-teller, documentary-maker and editor” who represented “the pinnacle of the craft.”

Former CBC journalist Michael Koller also told CTV News Toronto on Wednesday that Finlay was someone who consistently “made your journalism better” while working as an editor with ‘Sunday Morning’ and ‘The World at Six.’

“When it came time to have your stories reviewed before they went out on the airways, you kind of hoped Michael was going to be the one that would do the vetting process. It often hurt when he was finished with you but you knew consistently that the story would be better for it,” he said.