Ten people are dead, and 15 more are in hospital, after a rental van mowed down pedestrians for close to three kilometres in north Toronto on Monday afternoon.
Emergency crews received a number of frantic calls around 1:30 p.m., after a white rental van mounted the sidewalk at the busy Yonge Street and Finch Avenue intersection and struck a number of people.
From Yonge and Finch, the van – bearing a Ryder Truck Rental and Leasing logo – fled southbound on Yonge for several blocks toward Sheppard Avenue, hitting more people before coming to a stop on Poyntz Avenue.
There, an eyewitness video shows the driver – standing next to the damaged van – pointing his hands at a police officer.
“Kill me,” he yells, repeatedly gesturing his hand from his back pocket toward the officer.
“No. Get down,” the lone officer calls back. Eventually, the man drops the object on the pavement and obeys the officer’s orders to get on the ground. He was arrested at 1:52 p.m.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders confirmed Monday night that the suspect is 25-year-old Alek Minassian.
Chief Saunders was in New York City when he got the new Monday afternoon. He flew back right away and said his “heart goes out to the victims.”
At a press conference Monday night, he stressed that the investigation is “far from over.”
He said police have set up two hotlines; one to provide support to victims’ families and one for witnesses to provide information.
“We need every piece of this puzzle we can,” Chief Saunders said.
At this stage, police have not commented on a potential motive. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said “there would appear to be no national security connection to this particular incident.”
“The events that happened on the street behind us are horrendous,” he said. “But they do not appear to be connected in any way to national security based on the information available at this time.”
Source: The Globe and Mail