A driver deliberately ploughed his white Ryder rental van into a lunch-hour crowd in Toronto on Monday, killing 10 people and injuring 15 along a roughly 1.6-kilometre (mile-long) stretch of sidewalk thronged with pedestrians, police said.
The incident — which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a “tragic and senseless attack” — was one of the most violent in recent Canadian history.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders identified the suspect as Alek Minassian, 25, who he said had not previously been known to authorities.
“The actions definitely looked deliberate,” he told a late-night news conference close to the site of the incident in the northern section of Canada’s biggest city, noting the van had been driven along sidewalks.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp, citing government officials, said Minassian was not associated with any organised militant group.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the “tragic and senseless attack” had brought him “great sadness”.
Police said the white rental van mounted the kerb on Yonge Street between Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue at about 13:30 local time (17:30 GMT) on Monday and drove into pedestrians along a 2km (1.24 mile) stretch.
One witness told City News that the driver was “hitting anything that comes in the way”.
“People, fire hydrants, there’s mail boxes being run over,” said the unnamed man, who said he was driving behind the van during the incident.
As the van continued, the man said he sounded his horn to try to warn pedestrians. “I witnessed at least six, seven people being hit and flying in the air, like killed, on the street,” he said.
Pictures from the scene showed bodies covered in orange sheets along the van’s route. Debris and items of clothing were scattered across the pavements and road.
The van was brought to a halt by police several streets away and was quickly surrounded. And exceptional policing from the Canadian law enforcement agency, as they managed to apprehend the shooter without killing him, despite the fact that he was armed.
The suspect is due to appear in court today and Police authorities have said Minassian was from the northern Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill and was not previously known to authorities.
Monday’s incident occurred about 18 miles from the site where Toronto is hosting a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers from Canada, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, but had no noticeable effect on that event’s security.
I support WTX News and want to see it get better
This a huge gesture of support for the WTX News team, it’s not just £5.00 it’s the hugs and kisses that we can’t get enough off. Give WTX a big bear sized HUG!!!!!