Police in Toronto say they have arrested a male suspect after a white van mounted a curb in the city’s north end, killing 10 people and injuring 15 others.
Deputy Police Chief Peter Yuen told reporters Monday afternoon that police received multiple calls around 1:30 p.m. about a vehicle “driving on Yonge Street, striking a number of pedestrians between Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue.”
Yuen said one suspect was in custody, the van had been located and all available resources had been mobilized to investigate the situation.
Police Chief Mark Saunders later told reporters late Monday evening that the suspect is Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont.
Saunders said that the motive was not yet known.“The actions definitely look deliberate,” he said. “There’s nothing on our files. There’s nothing that we have on him right now.”
“It looks intentional and as a result 10 people are now not with us,” he added.
Video from the scene showed bodies under tarps, broken glass and a white Ryder van with extensive damage to its front end.
Witness Ali Shaker, who was driving southbound at the time, says the van was travelling at high speed on the sidewalk. The van was also heading southbound.
“He started going down on the sidewalk and crumbling down people one by one,” Shaker told CTV News Channel on Monday afternoon.Shaker said he saw the vehicle strike someone with a stroller.
“He just destroyed so many people’s lives,” he said. “Every single thing that got in his way.”
Victims in critical condition
Dr. Dan Cass of Sunnybrook Hospital told reporters shortly after 5 p.m. that the trauma centre had received a total of 10 victims.
Dr. Cass said two of the victims were pronounced dead upon arrival, five were in critical condition and three were in serious condition.“The victims that we have here are adults,” Dr. Cass added.
He said that family members seeking information on patients should call 416-480-4940.
North York General Hospital has also received patients.
Details on the victims’ identities have not been released. Invesco Canada President Peter Intraligi said that two Invesco employees were injured. The Toronto Public Library said all of its employees who were working at the North York Central branch have been accounted for.
Police asked that anyone with information call the investigative hotline at 416-808-8750.
“I want to assure people that the city is in safe hands at the moment,” Tory said.
“These are not the kinds of things that we expect to happen in this city,” he added.
Security level unchanged
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who was at a gathering of G7 ministers in Toronto, said shortly after 4 p.m. that Toronto Police remained the lead investigators.
Goodale added that the National Terrorism Threat Level has not changed. It is currently “Medium,” which means a violent act of terrorism could occur.
“There is no information available to me at the present time that would indicate a change in the risk level,” Goodale said.
“There are obviously casualties in this incident,” Goodale added. “I cannot provide details at this stage. But I want to extend thoughts and prayers to those who have suffered.”
Asked whether this was a terrorist act, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters in Toronto: “We have no information on that at this point.”
‘So many bodies’
Carol Roberts, who witnessed the aftermath, said she saw “a lot of people lying lifeless on the ground.”
“It was just so many bodies,” she told CTV News Channel.
Witness Phil Zullo, who was driving northbound, says he first noticed the commotion when he saw police taking down a male suspect.
Zullo says he continued north, where he saw “shoes and hats flown everywhere.”
A witness named Kash told local news station CP24 that he was having lunch at a Jack Astors restaurant when he came out and saw four bodies on the ground in front of Mel Lastman Square.
“People were trying to revive them obviously to no avail,” he said.
“It seems very clearly that the van had hopped the curb and kind of driven on the sidewalk going southbound and hit plenty of people.”
Kash said that it was “very traumatic.”
“Our thoughts and prayers go to people that do have family that have been hit,” he said.
“There was a guy here who said he followed the van down honking his horn trying to warn people as much as he could,” he added.
Object pointed at police
Video shared with CTV News shows the suspect pointing a small, dark object at police, with his back to the van. Police can be seen taking cover behind their vehicle and shouting at him to get down.
“Get down!” the officer is heard shouting.
“I have a gun in my pocket,” the suspect can be heard saying.
“Get down or you’ll be shot!” the officer says.
The camera turns away from the confrontation for approximately eight seconds, then looks back to show the suspect on the ground, face-down, with the officer cuffing him.
Another video recorded from a nearby building shows the moment missed in the previous video. The suspect can be seen walking out in the street with the object in his hand still pointed at the officer. After approximately five seconds he drops the object, throws out his arms and backs up to the curb.
Jesse Tahirali / CTV News. Source: Google Maps
PM will have ‘more to say in coming hours’
The RCMP has said it is aware of the incident, which is “currently being investigated by the Toronto Police Service.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau briefly addressed the situation before a session in the House of Commons Monday afternoon.
“Our hearts go out to anyone affected,” Trudeau said. “We’re obviously going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours.”
Subway service has been suspended between the TTC’s Sheppard and Finch stations. No replacement shuttle services will be operating.
In addition to a road closure on Yonge Street, Toronto Police said that roads would be closed in the vicinity of the Rogers Centre and Air Canada Centre.
Source: CTV News