Alek Minassian, 25, was arrested at the scene after van plowed into pedestrians on busy Yonge Street.
TORONTO: Ten people were killed and 15 others were injured on Monday afternoon, after a rented white Ryder van mowed down pedestrians along an approximately one-kilometre-long stretch of Toronto’s busy Yonge Street.
The incident occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Yonge Street, starting at Finch Avenue and ending near Sheppard Avenue, about two kilometres away, where a police officer arrested a male suspect without firing a single shot. Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders later identified the suspect as Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ontario, is a student at Seneca College.
‘No national security connections’
On being asked of a connection to international terrorism, the Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said, “Based on what we have there’s nothing that has it to compromise the national security at this time.”
Senior government officials 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.
“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 to the CTV news channel’s reporter.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said the incident was clearly deliberate and hence nothing has been ruled out of the investigation.
“I open all the lanes right now, I don’t close anything until the evidence closes it for us,” Mr. Saunders told reporters.
Witness Ali Shaker, who was driving near the van at the time, told CP24 news channel that the driver appeared to be moving deliberately through the crowd at more than 30 mph.
“He just went on the sidewalk. He just started hitting everybody, man. He hit every single person on the sidewalk. Anybody in his way he would hit,” said Mr. Shaker.
Similarly a local witness Peter Kang told CTV News that the driver did not made any effort to stop his van, indicating that the attack was done intentionally.
“If it was an accident he would have stopped. But the person just went through the sidewalk. He could have stopped,” he said.