At least nine people have died and 16 injured after a van mounted a kerb and struck a crowd of pedestrians in Toronto on Monday.
Toronto Police have yet to confirm the cause or motive, saying they are still working through a “complex” investigation, interviewing witnesses and examining surveillance footage.
Watch Deputy Chief Peter Yuen update media on multipe people struck by van at Yonge and Finch in Toronto. 9 dead. 16 injured. Watch on Facebook Live: https://t.co/RFZQ9KIdB1 ^sm https://t.co/Px5ORBBsdp
— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) April 23, 2018
The incident occurred in the Yonge Street and Finch Avenue area of the city, approximately 30 kilometres from downtown, where cabinet ministers from the G7 countries were gathered.
It began around 1.30pm Toronto time, and the suspect is now in custody.
Toronto Police Services Deputy Chief Peter Yuen said, “I can assure the public all our available resources have been brought in to investigate this tragic situation.”
Eye-witnesses said the driver deliberately swerved onto the footpath and was aiming for the pedestrians.
“He just went on the sidewalk,” Ali Shaker, who was driving near the Ryder rental truck, told Canadian broadcaster CP24.
“He just started hitting everybody, man. He hit every single person on the sidewalk. Anybody in his way he would hit.”
He hit every single person on the sidewalk. Anybody in his way he would hit.
Henry Miller told Sky News what he saw from his apartment balcony above the incident.
“I heard a large amount of honking… and I stepped out onto the balcony to see what was causing the trouble and at this point I saw a lady lying on the floor and the van driving off with people running around trying to help her.”
He said the van was travelling at “probably 60-70mph down this major road, swerving to what I would say fairly deliberately hit pedestrians and swerving in and out of traffic before eventually careering off into one of the other side streets and out of view”.
Another witness described the aftermath as being like a “war zone”.
“He’s just hitting people one by one by one. It was a nightmare,” he said. The van “just went on the side walk and started hitting everyone”.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “We’re still gathering information and as soon as we can, we’ll share more information with Canadians.”
“Our thoughts are with all those affected by the terrible incident at Yonge and Finch in Toronto. Thank you to the first responders working at the scene – we’re monitoring the situation closely.”
Our thoughts are with all those affected by the terrible incident at Yonge and Finch in Toronto. Thank you to the first responders working at the scene – we're monitoring the situation closely.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 23, 2018
Update — 8.20pm (Toronto time)
The suspect has been identified as 25-year-old Alek Minassian — a resident of Richmond Hill, Ontario.
Update — 1.00am
A former classmate of Minassian’s at Thornleigh High School, Ari Bluff, said he spent most of his time at school “by himself”.
“I’m not sure if he had any very, very close friends, at least publicly,” he said.
“I never saw him with a group of friends, generally. But whenever we would see him in the hallways, we’d always speak to him or say hi to him or whatnot.
“I remember seeing him probably just walking down the halls, usually by himself, or in the cafeteria by himself… My memory is not perfect, but certainly, it would not be, I don’t think, a misstatement to say that he wasn’t overly social.”