Toronto Police have confirmed that nine people are dead and 16 more are are injured after a man purposely drove a rented Ryder van into pedestrians in the city’s Yonge and Finch area.
Police confirmed that the van has been located and the driver is in custody. Toronto hospitals have confirmed that they have received several patients from the scene.
Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray told reporters, “At this point it’s too early to tell what, if any, motive there was.” But according to independent journalist Laura Loomer, the suspect Alek Minassian, was known to police.
BREAKING: Former NYC Police commissioner Bill Bratton stated on MSNBC today that his sources in #Canada say Alek Minassian, 25, who plowed a van into a crowd of pedestrians in #Toronto today was KNOWN TO POLICE, and they now consider it a terrorist attack.
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) April 23, 2018
Video from Yonge and Finch at Toronto pic.twitter.com/YvS8GcJ8pg
— Vince (@vce7) April 23, 2018
Minassian Was Arrested after Fleeing the Scene and Then Pulling What Looked Like a Gun on Police
VIDEO: Suspect in Toronto van hit-and-run has been arrested. pic.twitter.com/7S44yfdU8n
— TAP ALERTS (@TAPAlerts) April 23, 2018
Witness, Ali Shaker, who was driving near Minassian at the time, reports, “He just went on the sidewalk,” Shaker said. “He just started hitting everybody, man. He hit every single person on the sidewalk. Anybody in his way he would hit.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talked about the shooting, saying, “Our hearts go out to anyone affected. We’re obviously going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours.”
Jonathan Dienst of NBC News reported that Minassian had researched and chatted online about the Isla Vista killings in California in 2014. The Isla Vista massacre near UC Santa Barbara was a carefully prepared killing spree perpetrated by 22-year-old Elliot Rodger using a vehicle, knives, and firearms.