Police rule out terrorism but say incident in Toronto was 'deliberate'
At least 10 people were killed and 15 others injured after a van plowed into a pedestrians on Monday in Toronto, Canada.
The city's Police Chief Mark Saunders said a suspect identified as Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old from a Toronto suburb, has been detained and described the attack as "deliberate", although the motive was still to be established.
Minassian's LinkedIn profile identifies him as a student at Seneca College. On a video of his arrest, which was posted on social media, the suspect could be heard saying, "Kill me".
Witnesses said the attack happened around 1:30 p.m., when a white van mounted the sidewalk at the busy Yonge Street and Finch Avenue intersection and began hitting people.
At least seven people were rushed to nearby Sunnybrook Health Services Center's trauma center, the hospital said on Twitter, adding that the emergency department has been locked down as an added precaution.
Ryder System Inc spokeswoman Claudia Panfil confirmed that one of the company's rental vehicles had been involved and said the company was cooperating with authorities.
Peter Kang told CTV News that the driver did not seem to make any effort to stop.
"If it was an accident, he would have stopped," Kang said. "But the person just went through the sidewalk. He could have stopped."
Amir Bahmeyeh, who said he was a student from Iran, was in the area at the time of the attack.
"I saw the crazy van, like a rental van, hitting the people… one after one," he said. "I'm sure it was like a terrorist attack because he drove really fast, like crazy."
Video broadcast on several Canadian outlets showed police arresting the driver, dressed in dark clothes, after officers surrounded him and his rental van several blocks from where the incident occurred in the North York neighborhood of northern Toronto.
He appeared to make some sort of gesture at the police with an object in his hand just before they ordered him to lie down on the ground and took him away.
Witness Phil Zullo told Canadian Press that he saw police arresting the suspect and people "strewn all over the road" where the incident occurred.
"I must have seen about five, six people being resuscitated by bystanders and by ambulance drivers," Zullo said. "It was awful. Brutal."
Speaking at a news conference on Monday evening, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that based on present information there appears to be no national security connection in the case.
"The events that happened on the street behind us are horrendous, but they do not appear to be connected in any way to national security based on the information available at this time," the federal public safety minister said in Toronto, where he was attending the G7 foreign and security ministers meeting.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said the city is "united in grief" but is "in safe hands at the moment".
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his sympathies for those involved.
"We should all feel safe walking in our cities and communities," he said. "We are monitoring this situation closely, and will continue working with our law enforcement partners around the country to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians."