Yesterday afternoon in Toronto, Canada, a man purposely drove a rented white Ryder van to hit people walking on the sidewalks. 10 people died and 15 people were injured as the van moved down for about a mile on busy Yonge Street.
The suspected driver is Alek Minassian, 25. He is from an area close to Toronto.
About 30 minutes after the ramming, a police officer confronted him at gunpoint as the van was stopped on a sidewalk.
Minassian then yelled and pointed an object at the officer, and it would look like he had a gun and was trying to shoot him. There are reports of him telling the officer to shoot at him.
The officer didn’t fire his weapon, instead ordering him to lay down. He dropped his object and was arrested on the sidewalk. The object was not a gun.
Although this looks like a terrorist attack, Canadian authorities say Minassian is not being called a terrorist, because there is no national security connection. It appears he had mental health issues.
Police said they don’t know his motive and that they have nothing about him on their files.
He was briefly enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces, serving for two months, and left after about two weeks of recruit training.
Minassian appeared in court this morning and was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.
Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said this was a senseless attack and a horrific tragedy.
Not all the identities of those who died have been released, I’ll share more when we have the full information.
Here is one additional update about Minassian. Several news sources have reported that just before the van attack, he posted on Facebook a statement praising American Elliott Rodger, who killed six people in 2014 in a stabbing and shooting rampage.
Facebook confirmed that it was his page. The account has been deleted.
The similarities between Rodger and Minassian is that both are viewed as people who had made negative statements against women, possibly expressing frustration at not being able to have relationships with them.