Alek Minassian, 25, has been identified as the man responsible for the plowing into pedestrians with a rented white Ryder van during a terror attack in Toronto. The attack reportedly killed nine people and injured 16. Witnesses at the scene said he appeared to be deliberately targeting pedestrians along Yonge St. near Finch Ave. CBS News first reported Minassian’s identity. Minassian’s specific motive remains unclear at this time. He charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder.
According to reports, Minassian mounted a curb with a white van, driving into pedestrians at the intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue in North York before fleeing the scene.
While early reports indicated that eight people were injured, that number grew to 16 reportedly injured and nine reportedly dead. Minassian was arrested a short time after by Toronto police. When he was being apprehended, he reportedly mimed drawing a gun on police.
Video from the scene shows Minassian telling police that he “has a gun in his pocket” as they attempt to bring him into custody.
Breaking: Watch the suspect in the Toronto attack that killed 9, 25-year-old Alek Minassian (CBS reports) attempt suicide by cop prior to being arrested. pic.twitter.com/PNWgcnxqNn
— #MAGA IN THE 316 🇺🇸Text TRUMP to 88022 (@mikeo159) April 23, 2018
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “Our hearts go out to anyone affected. We’re obviously going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours.”
A public LinkedIn profile with the name Alek Minassian says that he was a student at Seneca College, although it has yet to be confirmed if that is the same Alek Minassian responsible for the attack. Former NYC Police commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC that Minassian was previously known to authorities before the attack as a potential terror suspect.
Minassian is in custody and the van has been located, Toronto Police media representative Gary Long said. A law enforcement official briefed on the situation in Toronto tells CNN the incident is believed to be deliberate.
Seven patients from the incident were received at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The hospital was unable to provide details on the severity of those injuries. Stephen Powell, district chief for Toronto Fire, confirmed that there have been multiple casualties. A large presence of Toronto fire, police and EMS personnel are on the scene, Powell said.
The incident happened in the North York area at the intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue, police said. Powell said the suspect covered between a half-mile and a mile in the vehicle.
Chelsea Luelo, who works at Capriccio Café, saw the incident and said she thought the driver was hitting people intentionally. “It looked like he was going straight, halfway through the sidewalk,” Luelo said.
Mayor John Tory issued the following statement:
My statement on the tragic incident at Yonge and Finch. pic.twitter.com/8FhH3M5Vhd
— John Tory (@JohnTory) April 23, 2018
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “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.”
The attack in Toronto comes six months after eight people were killed and almost a dozen were injured after 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov drove a rented pickup truck down a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center in New York City on October 31, 2017.