A driver plowed a rental van through a crowd of pedestrians on a busy Toronto sidewalk on April 23, killing 10 and injuring 15, in Canada’s worst mass killing in almost three decades.
A 25-year-old man was arrested after a lone policeman unwaveringly stared down the agitated suspect — clothed head to toe in black — who appeared to repeatedly draw an
object from his hip and point it at the officer.
While Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said there appears to be “no national security connection” based on information currently available, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said the incident was clearly deliberate and nothing has been ruled out.
“I open all the lanes right now, I don’t close anything until the evidence closes it for us,” Saunders said. “Right now everything is open.”
Saunders identified the suspect as Alek Minassian, and said police were still searching for a motive, declining to provide further details. Minassian, of Richmond Hill, Ontario, is a student at Seneca College, CBC News reported. He was due to appear in court in Toronto, when charges will be made public.
It’s the worst mass killing in Canada since Marc Lepine killed 14 women at a Montreal engineering school in 1989 before turning the gun on himself. It comes on the heels of several other vehicle attacks around the world, including one in a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12, a van attack in Barcelona that left 13 dead, and the truck loaded with arms that drove into a late-night crowd in Nice, France, in 2016, killing 80 people. A vehicle attack in Edmonton, Alberta, last year injured four pedestrians and a police officer.
On April 13, a van sped into the intersection of Yonge and Finch at around 1.30 pm before heading south on Yonge, hopping the curb and slamming into pedestrians. Several witnesses told CP24 Television and other networks that he appeared to be targeting people, driving to avert light standards as he raced south. Asked about the remarkable arrest, in which the suspect appeared to draw an object from his pocket and point it at the policeman, Chief Saunders answered: “The officers here are taught to use as little force as possible in any given situation.”
Among the dead was an employee of Invesco Canada, the unit’s president Peter Intraligi said. “Our prayers continue to be with all those impacted by this tragic event. Unfortunately one of our employees has succumbed to her injuries.”