A tragic happening took place in Toronto on Monday, killing at least ten and injuring at least fifteen, according to authorities. A white rental Ryder van began its killing spree by running over a pedestrian and then started plowing into people on the sidewalk.
This incident was not deemed as terrorism, even though the driver committed this crime intentionally. The police force ensures the people that “The city is safe”, clearing the air of fear and wariness in Toronto.
The driver was identified as Alek Minassian, age 25. He is now being kept in custody. He initially refused to surrender and challenged the police officers, exclaiming “shoot me in the head.”
This incident was extremely reminiscent and similar to the attacks conducted by the Islamic State terrorists who committed terrorist attacks and killings with vehicles in Nice, France, Berlin, Barcelona, London and New York. Therefore naturally there have been concerns raised regarding the nature of this attack, yet these speculations were dismissed by the public safety minister of Canada, Ralph Goodale.
He recognized the violence of this event, but rejected the notion of terrorism as its backing force: “The events that happened on the street behind us are horrendous, but they do not appear to be connected in any way to national security based the information at this time.”
Witnesses are shocked beyond words. One witness said that the van plowed through everything that was in its path, whether that was pedestrians, poles, fire hydrants or benches. Another described that “Pieces of the van went flying everywhere”.
It was a pure carnage, and the victims were taken to the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center immediately. While two arrived dead, unfortunately, five were in critical condition and there were in a serious condition out of the ten victims at the center.
The killing took place on Yonge Street, a main artery of Toronto, cutting right through the city. Most of the deaths occurred in the north part of the street, in a neighborhood that is heavily populated by new condominium towers. The neighborhood is quieter than ever after the incident occurred.
Local residents are gathering support and solidarity from each other and the community as much as possible. Konstantin Goulich, a local, was found walking around the neighborhood with markers and a cardboard, gathering signatures and comments from passersby.
This is one of the most deadly and violent uses of a vehicle in Canadian history and many were shocked that this would happen in Canada.
Later in the day, Canada celebrated the Toronto Maple Leafs’ victory against Boston in a playoff game. Exalted fans were faced with police officers in bulletproof vests. Their joy was turned into great shock, disbelief, and grief.
Featured Image via Pixabay