One witness said the van had mowed down everything in its path: pedestrians, mailboxes, electrical poles, benches and a fire hydrant. Videos appeared to show the driver pointing an object at the officers, who could be heard shouting at him to get down. The man was then detained without any shots being fired. The incident occurred in the far north, a densely populated part of the city surrounded by many new condominium towers. Many shops in the area remained closed, at the request of the authorities.
The suspect has been named by police as Alek Minassian, 25, from the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill. Separate hotlines had been set up for victims’ families and for witnesses, as police believes it will be a long investigation in the case. The incident appeared to be deliberate but did not seem to have been an act of terrorism and the motive was still unknown. Safety minister Ralph Goodale referred to the incident as a “horrific attack”. “But they do not appear to be connected in any way to national security based on the information at this time ‚” he added. Authorities released few details about Minassian on Monday night. John Tory, the mayor of Toronto, said, “My thoughts are with those affected by this incident and the front-line responders who are working to help those injured.” The episode in Toronto appeared to be the deadliest use of a vehicle in Canada to deliberately mow down pedestrians.