A white van plowed down a Toronto sidewalk crowded with pedestrians, killing 10 people in total and hurting 14 others. The police officer who arrested Minassian has been identified as Const. Ken Lam, a longtime veteran of the force.
Alek Minassian, 25, is facing 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 of attempted murder with one more charge expected to be laid soon. He then answered "yes" when asked if he understood a court order not to have any contact with the victims or their families. The suspect is scheduled to return to court on May 10 for a bail hearing.
In the meantime, officials are attempting to piece together the planning and motives of a suspect who was not previously on any law enforcement watch lists.
Speaking to reporters early Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there is no evidence to suggest the "horrific" and "senseless" attack has a national security element. However, the authorities are asked to refrain from unsubstantiated accusations of terrorist attack.
Trudeau says the incident "hasn't changed the overall threat level in Canada", though it occurred as Cabinet ministers from the G7 nations are meeting in Toronto. He voluntarily left the service after 16 days of recruit training, the minister said without providing further details.
He said consular staff visited the injured victim in hospital and were trying to get more information from police authorities.
At a news conference Tuesday, police said little about any possible motive the suspect may have had, but did refer to a "cryptic" message posted on Minassian's Facebook account moments before he allegedly drove south down a almost kilometre-long stretch causing what paramedics described as "pure carnage".
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"This is a bad tragedy and our hearts go out to the people who have been affected", Facebook Inc. said.
The suspect's name has appeared in various news sources, but has not been officially released by police.
Gibson also made note of a largely incoherent, widely circulated Facebook post on Minassian's account.
Anne Marie D'Amico who worked at an investment management firm in the Canadian city.
"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those impacted by this tragic event", Intraligi said.
- Minassian, 25, is from the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, police said.
"The actions definitely looked deliberate", said Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders. "We are reaching out to her loved ones to support them in any way possible", said John Malloy, TDSB director of education.
Strangers to each other; strangers to us. He "just starting hitting everybody", an eyewitness told Canadian television network CTV. "Many times our officers are dealing with people in situations that's resolved in a peaceful way". He said the driver was traveling at an estimated 35 to 45 miles per hour. He had only been in the country for a couple of weeks when the van attack took place, Malawi said, adding the family is in the midst of a three-day mourning period.
In September, Abdulahi Hasan Sharif was arrested in Edmonton, Alberta, after two related incidents on the same evening.