Following a deliberate mass-killing on the busiest street in Canada, a shocked and grieving Toronto is looking for answers.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders, along with Detective Sgt. Graham Gibson, Chief Coroner of Canada Dr. Dirk Huryer, and Mayor John Tory gave the media an update on the ongoing investigation.
While no new major details were released, like the suspect’s motive, the details that were revealed paint a grim picture of what happened Monday morning leading up to when Alek Minassian, 25, deliberately plowed through pedestrians along Yonge Street, killing 10 innocent people and injuring 14 others.
Police had previously reported there were 15 people injured in the Toronto van attack and told media that the miscount happened because of the chaotic situation Monday afternoon.
According to Detective Sgt. Gibson, Minassian rented a white, panel-style Ryder van from a truck rental facility north of Toronto Monday morning.
Subsequent to that, Minassian headed straight to the Yonge and Finch area just before 1:30 pm.
Minassian then drove the van onto the sidewalk and began deliberately plowing through everything in his path. The carnage stretched for over a kilometre along Yonge Street south from Finch Avenue.
According to Cheif Saunders, it took officers seven minutes from the initial call received about the van attack to arrest the suspect.
In an intense video shared online by a bystander, Minassian can be seen pleading for his own death, and asking a lone police officer to “Shoot me in the head.”
The officer responsible for arresting Minassian is now being commended on social media for remaining calm and not using excessive and deadly force.
WARNING: Some viewers may find the following content disturbing.
At Tuesday’s press conference, police confirmed that Minassian had posted a cryptic message on Facebook prior to his rampage, making reference to “The Incel Rebellion.”
Police said they will be investigating Minassian’s Facebook status in the coming weeks.
Tuesday morning, Minassian was formally charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.
Detective Sgt. Gibson said police are anticipating a 14th count.
According to police, the victims of the van attack were “predominantly female,” although police would not confirm if this was intentional.
Gibson says the ages of the victim’s range from mid-20s to 80s, while injuries range from scrapes and bruises to terrible injuries.
Some victims have been released from the hospital, but police would not confirm how many.
Dr. Huryer called Monday’s attack a “horrible tragedy” that Toronto hopefully never has to repeat.
He also told media that the biggest question right now is when the victim’s names will be released.
Dr. Huryer said police have not officially confirmed any of the victim’s identifications and the coroners are working carefully to release the most accurate information possible.
Family members have been contacted and informed that it’s believed their family member may have been one of the victims, but Dr. Huryer says it could still be several days before any victims are confirmed by the coroner’s office.
Mayor Tory advised the media the City of Toronto has partnered with the Toronto Foundation to initiate a fund called #TorontoStrong. This will ensure donations can be put together in one place.
As the investigation continues to take place, Tory says the North York Civic Centre will be open for business tomorrow.
Yonge Street is expected to be re-open by this evening and the TTC will begin to stop at North York station starting this evening as well.
Police are now asking anyone who witnessed the van attack that has yet to speak with police or has video or pictures of the attack to contact police immediately.
Police are now asking all witnesses who may have information regarding Monday’s attack to call their investigative hotline at 416-808-8750.
A web portal has also been created for witnesses to submit photos and videos, which can be found here.