On Monday a rented van mowed down a crowded sidewalk, which killed 10 people and injured 15 before the driver tried to escape, but was quickly arrested by authorities.
The suspect is Alek Minassian, 25, from Richmond Hill. His attack took place in Toronto. According to witnesses, his actions seemed very deliberate when he mounted the curb on Young Street near Finch Ave and was moving fast.
Police officials refused to comment on the cause or motive of the attack, which took place before 13:30.
‘This person was intentionally doing this, he was killing everybody,’ a witness named Ali said.
‘He kept going, he kept going. People were getting hit, one after another,’ adding that many of the victims were elderly while he did see a stroller fly into the air.
Via Daily Mail: Speaking at a news conference Monday night, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders raised the initial death toll of nine to 10, saying another victim had died at a hospital. He said 15 others were hospitalized.
Footage of Minassian’s arrest, which was filmed by a bystander, showed the suspect in an intense standoff with a police officer as he waved what appeared to be a gun a few blocks from the initial incident.
The officer can be heard repeatedly shouting: ‘Get down or you’ll be shot’ before Minassian dropped and was taken into custody.
Authorities said the suspect had not been known to police previously.
Responding to reporters’ question if this was international terrorism, the police chief said, ‘Based on what we have there’s nothing that has it to compromise the national security at this time.’
A senior national government official said earlier that authorities had not turned over the investigation to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a sign that investigators believed it unlikely terrorism was the motive.
Authorities released few details in the case, saying the investigation was still underway, with witnesses being interviewed and surveillance video being examined.
‘I can assure the public all our available resources have been brought in to investigate this tragic situation,’ Peter Yuen, the Toronto Police Services Deputy Chief, said earlier.
The attacked happened as Cabinet ministers from major industrial countries gathered in Canada to discuss various international issues before the June G7 meeting near Quebec City.
Public Safety Minister for the nation, Ralph Goodale, decreed it as a ‘horrific attack’ and all G7 foreign ministers expressed their condolences.
The driver was heading south on busy Yonge Street around 1.30pm and the streets were crowded with people enjoying an unseasonably warm day when the van jumped onto the sidewalk.
Witnesses were shocked by the bloody scene in front of them.
‘It was just so many bodies,’ said Carol Roberts, who saw ‘a lot of people lying lifeless on the ground.’
Ali Shaker, speaking to CTV News Channel, said it was a deliberate attack on the pedestrians. ‘He started going down on the sidewalk and crumbling down people one by one,’ Shaker said, adding one victim had a stroller.
‘He just destroyed so many people’s lives,’ he said. ‘Every single thing that got in his way.’
Another witness said he saw at least five or six people being resuscitated by bystanders and paramedics. He estimated the driver was going around 70km an hour.
Another witness Jamie Eopni told CP24 that the van driver ‘didn’t really look like he cared where he was going or what he was doing.’
‘It was crashing into everything. It destroyed a bench. If anybody was on that street they would have been hit on the sidewalk,’ Eopni said.
‘You could see exactly where he drove because of the tire marks. (He was) just crashing into the poles, scraping along.’
A waiter at a local cafe said one of the victims appeared to be a girl in serious condition.
The van was a rental truck from Ryder – a truck rental and supply firm.