Police have confirmed 10 people are dead and 15 are injured after a van rammed into a crowd of people walking on Yonge Street in north Toronto on Monday afternoon.
Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old man from Richmond Hill, Ont., is the alleged driver in the attack and is in police custody. Minassian reportedly hit pedestrians with a white van on a one-kilometre stretch of Yonge Street near Finch Avenue. Police say they are unsure if he planned the incident on his own.
Around 1:30 p.m. Monday, a white van, which had a Ryder Truck Rental and Leasing logo on its side, mounted the sidewalk at the busy Yonge Street and Finch Avenue East intersection and struck a number of people. From there, the van proceeded southbound on Yonge for several blocks toward Sheppard Avenue West. The van, according to witnesses, was going at a speed of up to 70 kilometres an hour and intentionally hitting people on the sidewalks. The vehicle made it roughly three kilometres before being stopped on the sidewalk near Poyntz Avenue with severe front-end damage.
Officials have not yet linked the incident to any terror, but Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders stressed it is early in the investigation.
For those affected by the incident, a reception centre was set up at Mitchell Field Community Centre on Church Avenue. Red Cross and staff from Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management are on scene.
Sunnybrook Hospital, the main trauma centre, also said they would provide updates on the victims being treated at the centre as they come in. Members of the public who are concerned about their loved ones are also encouraged to call the Sunnybrook Family Information and Support Centre at 416-480-4940.
Toronto is hosting a meeting with G7 leaders where Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to the media about the incident.
“I cannot provide details at this stage,” Goodale said, confirming that Toronto police is the lead investigative agency in this investigation.
“We cannot come to any firm conclusions at this stage,” Goodale continued. When asked whether the incident was an act of terror, the public safety minister said “it would be inappropriate to speculate.”
“Our thoughts are with all those affected by the terrible incident at Yonge and Finch in Toronto,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter. “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
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