Toronto van attack suspect charged with 10 counts of murder

World Today

10 Killed After Rental Van Plows Into Pedestrians On Toronto StreetPeople gather at a memorial for victims of the mass killing on Yonge St. at Finch Ave. on April 24, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Cole Burston/Getty Images/AFP)

The man suspected of killing multiple pedestrians with a van appeared in a Toronto court on Tuesday. Investigators are still trying to establish a motive, paying close attention to recent social media posts.

CGTN’s Dan Williams reports from Toronto.

There was an outpouring of grief and emotion in Toronto, as the city began to come to terms with Monday’s tragic events.

A few kilometers from the site of the deadly incident, Alek Minassian appeared in court, showing little emotion. He was charged with 10 counts of first degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Minassian did not enter a plea.

Police are refusing to divulge much about a possible motive, but they once again called it a deliberate act.

CGTN’s Dan Williams gave an update on the day’s news

“The accused is alleged to have posted a cryptic message on Facebook minutes before he began driving the rented van, and he drove it southbound on Yonge Street and onto the crowded sidewalks,” Detective Sergeant Graham Gibson said. “He continued to drive southbound on Yonge Street, deliberately striking pedestrians on the sidewalk and roadway with the vehicle.”

Also at the court, police provided security for man who is reportedly the suspect’s father. He too was struggling to comprehend the chain of events. When asked if he had a message for the people of Ontario, he responded “I can’t right now.”

The chaotic scenes from Monday, with bodies strewn across the street and sidewalks, continue to haunt.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave a message of support and solidarity.

“The entire community of Toronto has shown strength and determination in the face of this tragedy,” the president said. “All Canadians stand united with Toronto today.” 

A memorial has been set up across the road from where the incident began. Throughout the day, people arrived and paid their respects to the victims, beginning their own grieving process.

“It’s surreal. It’s like watching a movie and not believing that these things can happen,” one mourner said.

The mayor of Toronto, along with the premier of Ontario, visited the scene and the memorial. They delivered a message of togetherness.

“This is a very sad time. We are grieving with all of the families and friends of the victims,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said. “But we are a resilient city and a resilient province, and we will come together and work through this.”

Paul Viollis discusses the van attack in Toronto

For more on the van attack in Toronto and the rising use of vehicles as weapons, CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke with Paul Viollis. He’s a law enforcement analyst and CEO of Viollis Group International.