10 Dead as Van Plows Into Toronto Crowd04/24 06:10
A 25-year-old in a rented van plowed down a Toronto sidewalk crowded with
lunchtime strollers Monday, killing 10 people and injuring 15 in what appeared
to witnesses and the city's police chief as a deliberate attack. The driver was
quickly arrested in a tense but brief confrontation with officers a few blocks
TORONTO (AP) -- A 25-year-old in a rented van plowed down a Toronto sidewalk
crowded with lunchtime strollers Monday, killing 10 people and injuring 15 in
what appeared to witnesses and the city's police chief as a deliberate attack.
The driver was quickly arrested in a tense but brief confrontation with
officers a few blocks away.
Witnesses and the police chief said the driver, identified by authorities as
Alek Minassian, was moving fast and appeared to intentionally jump a curb in
the North York neighborhood as people filled the sidewalks on a warm afternoon.
He continued for more than a mile, knocking out a fire hydrant and leaving
bodies strewn in his wake.
Officials would not comment on a possible motive except to play down a
possible connection to terrorism, a thought that occurred to many following a
series of attacks involving trucks and pedestrians in Europe and the presence
in Toronto this week of Cabinet ministers from the G7 nations.
Still, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said he did not think it was an
"The incident definitely looked deliberate," Saunders said at a news
conference Monday night as he announced that the initial death toll of nine had
risen to 10 after another victim died at a hospital. He said 15 others were
Saunders said Minassian, who lives in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill,
had not been known to police previously.
Asked if there was any evidence of a connection to international terrorism,
the chief said only, "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. The official
agreed to reveal that information only if not quoted by name.
Authorities released few details in the case, saying the investigation was
still underway, with witnesses being interviewed and surveillance video being
"I can assure the public all our available resources have been brought in to
investigate this tragic situation," Toronto Police Services Deputy Chief Peter
Yuen said earlier.
The incident occurred as Cabinet ministers from the major industrial
countries were gathered in Canada to discuss a range of international issues in
the run-up to the G7 meeting near Quebec City in June. Canadian Public Safety
Minister Ralph Goodale called the incident a "horrific attack" and said the G7
foreign ministers extended their condolences.
The driver was heading south on busy Yonge Street around 1:30 p.m. and the
streets were crowded with people enjoying an unseasonably warm day when the van
jumped onto the sidewalk.
Ali Shaker, who was driving near the van at the time, told Canadian
broadcast outlet CP24 that the driver appeared to be moving deliberately
through the crowd at more than 30 mph.
"He just went on the sidewalk," a distraught Shaker said. "He just started
hitting everybody, man. He hit every single person on the sidewalk. Anybody in
his way he would hit."
Witness Peter Kang told CTV News that the driver did not seem to make any
effort to stop.
"If it was an accident he would have stopped," Kang said. "But the person
just went through the sidewalk. He could have stopped."
Video broadcast on several Canadian outlets showed police arresting the
driver, dressed in dark clothes, after officers surrounded him and his rental
Ryder van several blocks from where the incident occurred in the North York
neighborhood of northern Toronto. He appeared to make some sort of gesture at
the police with an object in his hand just before they ordered him to lie down
on the ground and took him away.
Witness Phil Zullo told Canadian Press that he saw police arresting the
suspect and people "strewn all over the road" where the incident occurred.
"I must have seen about five, six people being resuscitated by bystanders
and by ambulance drivers," Zullo said. "It was awful. Brutal."
Police shut down the Yonge and Finch intersection following the incident and
Toronto's transit agency said it had suspended service on the subway line
running through the area.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his sympathies for those involved.
"We should all feel safe walking in our cities and communities," he said.
"We are monitoring this situation closely, and will continue working with our
law enforcement partners around the country to ensure the safety and security
of all Canadians."