BREAKING UPDATE: The man arrested in connection with a deadly van attack in North York on Monday afternoon has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.
He has been remanded into custody and is set to return to court on May 10.
The suspect, identified by police as 25-year-old Richmond Hill resident Alek Minassian, was arrested after a van plowed into pedestrians along a busy stretch of Yonge Street, killing 10 and injuring 15 others.
Sources told CTV News Monday that Minassian was not known to police prior to the incident and a Linkedin profile under his name states he graduated from Seneca College earlier this year.
On Monday afternoon, several witnesses reported seeing a white Ryder rental van driving along the sidewalk in the area of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue, striking pedestrians in its path.
Early images of the scene showed pools of blood on the sidewalk and multiple people wounded on the ground.
A driver who said he was behind the van as the incident was unfolding said he eventually started honking to warn pedestrians.
“At the beginning I thought I want to make him stop because I’m literally about 20, 30 metres behind him but he is not stopping and he is driving faster on the sidewalks and I am on the road,” he told CP24.
He said he then decided to continue to follow the vehicle and honk to warn people on the street about the danger.
Witness videos sent to CP24 show a dramatic takedown of the suspect on the sidewalk on Poyntz Avenue.
The videos show a man exiting a badly damaged white rental van as an officer points a firearm at the suspect.
A source confirmed to CP24’s crime specialist Steve Ryan that prior to the arrest, the man asked police officers to shoot him.
He was eventually brought to the ground and taken into custody.
Police have said that they believe the incident appears to be “deliberate.”
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters Monday night that police are exploring “all lanes” in their investigation and are trying to determine exactly what the van driver’s motivation was in the deadly attack.
One victim identified
One of the ten victims of the fatal attack has been identified as Invesco employee Anne Marie D’Amico, a source confirmed to CP24.
Police have not released the ages or genders of the other nine victims.
Flowers and messages of condolence could be seen at a growing memorial that has been set up in Olive Square, near Yonge Street and Finch Avenue, in honour of those impacted by the tragedy.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up for the victims.
The section of Yonge Street where the pedestrians were hit remains closed today as police continue their investigation.
Transit has also been impacted due to closures in the area.
Due to the police investigation, the Toronto District School Board said the TDSB Education Centre, located near Yonge Street and Sheppard Aveneue, will be closed Tuesday.
‘We will not be broken,’ Tory says
Tuesday’s Toronto city council meeting was postponed until Wednesday, but Mayor John Tory asked councillors to meet at city hall today to express their condolences.
Speaking in council chambers Tuesday, Tory called the situation an “unfathomable loss of life has left our city in mourning.”
“Our hearts are with all of those affected,” he said.
The mayor went on to thank hospital staff as well as first responders and citizens at the scene who exhibited “great bravery” during the ordeal.
“We know that we are strong and resilient and will not be thrown off course by one person or one act,” Tory said.
“The people who call this city home are shaken… but we will not be broken.”
Coun. John Filion, whose ward encompasses the area where the attack took place, recognized the “tremendous emotional toll” the incident has taken on those in the area who rushed in to help in any way they could.
“Hopefully this will have all of us be a little kinder to each other on regular days,” he told his fellow councillors at city hall Tuesday.
Speaking at Parliament Hill on Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the incident “horrific” and “senseless.”
“On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest, heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of all those who were killed and we wish a full recovery to those injured and stand with the families and friends of the victims,” Trudeau said.
The prime minister added that there is nothing to suggest that there is a national security element to the situation.
Police said another update on the case will be provided this afternoon but a time and location has not yet been determined.
Courtesy of CTV and CP 24 and GMA