‘Looks deliberate’: Van ploughs into Toronto crowd, killing 10

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April 24, 2018

Driver in custody and being questioned by police as search for motive in the deadly incident begins.

The man who drove a van into a crowd of pedestrians at high speed in Canada’s largest city, killing 10 people and wounding 15 others, was acting deliberately, according to police.

A white van jumped the curb in a busy street in Toronto on Monday at about 1pm (17:00GMT). It fled the scene, but was found not far away.

The alleged driver, 25-year-old Alek Minassian, was arrested after a short, but tense standoff during which he reportedly told police to “shoot me in the head”.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters on Monday evening that the exact motivation for the incident was not yet clear, but that “there’s nothing that does affect the national security footprint”.

“Based on witness accounts, we have a vehicle that started north on Yonge Street from Finch and drove southbound at some point in times on sidewalks, at some point in times driving southbound in northbound lanes,” Saunders said.

“So, it’s very clear just from a general perspective to say that the actions definitely look deliberate.”

Saunders added that no gun was found on Minassian when he was arrested and that the suspect, who resides in Toronto suburb Richmond Hill, was not previously known to local police.

Witnesses said the rented van was moving at high speed at the time of the incident.

“He started going down on the sidewalk and crumbling down people one by one … every single thing that got in his way,” witness Alex Shaker told CTV News Channel.

Passer-by Carol Roberts said there was “a lot of people lying lifeless on the ground”.

“It was just so many bodies,” CTV quoted her as saying.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters “our hearts go out to anyone affected”.

“We’re going to, obviously, have more to learn, more to say in the coming hours,” he said.

The United States and Europe have seen a string of deadly attacks in which vehicles were used to target pedestrians, including an October 31 attack in New York City that killed eight people. 

Minassian is due to appear in court at 10am (14:00GMT) on Tuesday.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera News