Probe Into Toronto Attack Underway

Probe Into Toronto Attack UnderwayProbe Into Toronto Attack Underway

A Canadian man who apparently had a grudge against women was charged with murder on Tuesday after allegedly plowing a rented van onto a crowded Toronto sidewalk, killing 10 people—an incident that shocked the nation.

Police said the suspect, 25-year-old Alek Minassian, was not known to them before Monday’s carnage in Canada’s most populous city, which also left 14 people injured. Most of the victims were women, France24 reported.

Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale played down any suggestion that the attack bore the hallmarks of those carried out by truck-driving extremists in London, Nice and other cities, saying “there is no discernable connection to national security.”

But authorities said the incident during the busy lunch hour Monday was undoubtedly deliberate.

Lead investigator Detective-Sergeant Graham Gibson said Minassian had posted a “cryptic message on Facebook minutes before he began driving the rented van” along a long stretch of Yonge Street, eventually jumping the curb onto the sidewalk.

In the post, Minassian praised mass killer Elliot Rodger a 22-year-old American who murdered six people and then killed himself in California in 2014, and who had professed frustration over women rejecting him.

Gibson said the victims of the Toronto attack were “predominantly women” and ranged in age from the mid-20s to 80s.

Minassian also referred to himself on social media as a private in the army. Canadian military spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande confirmed that he enlisted last August but asked to be discharged after only 16 days of basic training.

A shaven-headed Minassian appeared in court early Tuesday to hear the charges against him—10 counts of premeditated murder and 13 of attempted murder. A 14th count of attempted murder was pending after the toll of injured was revised down.

Minassian stood impassively with his hands behind his back, wearing a white police jumpsuit. He was calm as he was led away. The suspect is scheduled to return to court on May 10 for a bail hearing.

Minassian lived with his father in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, and police searched the home on Tuesday.



Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints