Authorites in Canada are investigating a van collision that left 10 people dead and 16 others injured in Toronto on Monday afternoon.
Toronto Police Services Det. Sgt. Graham Gibson said the suspected driver of the van, 25-year-old Alek Minassian, appeared in court Tuesday morning and is being held in custody. He faces 10 counts of first degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder related to the incident.
Here’s what we know — and don’t know — about the van collision.
Gibson said Minassian drove a rented van into a crowd of pedestrians on Yonge Street and Finch Avenue in Toronto at approximately 1:30 p.m. ET on Monday. He continued driving southbound on Yonge Street, deliberately striking more people on the sidewalk and roadway, Gibson said.
An officer arrested Minassian within 10 minutes after he stopped the van near the corner of Yonge Street and Shepard Avenue, about 1.6 miles south of where the incident began.
Videos circulating on social media appear to show the moment Minassian was taken into custody. One video shows an officer confronting the suspect as he points an object toward the officer and asks to be shot in the head. The officer refuses to shoot and repeatedly asks the suspect to get on the ground. Another video shows the suspect eventually getting down as the officer moves in to make the arrest. (Warning: These videos are violent in nature).
Toronto Police Service Police Chief Mark Saunders commended the officer for “de-escalating” the situation.
Although police say the incident appeared to be intentional, Gibson said police will not comment on the motive behind the collision because Minassian has been charged in the case.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday authorities “have no reason to suspect that there is any national security element to this attack.”
Who are the victims?
Ten people died and 16 were injured as a result of the collision. The victims were “predominantly” women, but it’s unclear if the suspect deliberately targeted women, Gibson said.
Homicide Investigator Bryan Bott said in a news conference Friday afternoon that the victims who died were 45-year-old Beutis Renuka Amarashingha, 33-year-old Andrea Bradden, 83-year-old Geraldine Brady, 22-year-old So He Chung, 30-year-old Anne Marie D’Amico, 94-year-old Mary Elizabeth Forsyth, 22-year-old Ji Hun Kim, 80-year-old Dorothy Sewell, 45-year-old Chul Min Kang and 85-year-old Munir Abdo Habib Najjar.
Toronto Chief Coroner Dr. Dirk Huyer, who worked with Toronto police to confirm the identities of the 10 victims, said eight of them were from Canada. Kim was a student from Korea who was studying in Toronto. Najjar was from Jordan and was visiting his family in the city.
Bott said two of the injured victims have been released from the hospitals where they were staying.
Gibson said Tuesday the injuries ranged from scrapes and bruises to “terrible injuries.”
Who is the suspect?
Police identified the suspect as 25-year-old Alek Minassian, a resident of Richmond Hill, Ontario, a town about 20 miles north of Toronto.
A LinkedIn account says Minassian is a college student in Seneca College in Toronto.
Gibson said Minassian posted a “cryptic” message on his now-deleted Facebook account minutes before the attack. In it, he praised a community college student who killed six people in 2014 near the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Police said they will review surveillance cameras and interview witnesses as they continue the investigation. They are calling on additional witnesses to come forward and provide more information on the collision.
What are officials saying?
On Tuesday, Trudeau said the van collision does not threaten national security, and he dismissed the possibility of terrorism, adding that this incident did not change the threat level of terrorism in Canada.
U.S. President Donald Trump offered his condolences to the victims and their families Tuesday.
“I also want to express our deepest sympathies to the Canadian people following the horrendous tragedy in Toronto that claimed so many innocent lives,” Trump said at a White House ceremony as he welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron. “Our hearts are with the grieving families in Canada.”
Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne told reporters today she visited some victims in Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto late Monday and said the families are in the very best hands.