10 killed, 14 injured after van plows through pedestrians at Yonge and Finch

By News Staff

The death toll in the horrific van attack in Toronto on Monday afternoon has risen to 10, with 14 others injured.

A van drove down the sidewalk on Yonge Street between Finch and Sheppard, plowing through pedestrians and indiscriminately hitting almost everything in its path.

The driver was apprehended by a single officer shortly after at Yonge and Sheppard. He is now in custody. Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders identified the suspect as 25-year-old Alek Minassian, and says he appears to be from Richmond Hill.

York police have taped off a portion of Elmsley Drive near 16th Ave and Bayview Ave in Richmond Hill, the street where Minassian reportedly lives.

Mayor Tory advised the public to stay away from the area and asked businesses in the immediate vicinity to close.

Public safety minister Ralph Goodale said that Canada’s risk level remains unchanged at Medium.

“On the basis of all available information at the present time, there would appear to be no national security connection to this particular incident,” he said.

Witness Cam Clark explained to 680 NEWS how quickly the idyllic afternoon was shattered by screams.

“Everybody was out enjoying the sunshine and all of a sudden there was this Ryder van coming south on the sidewalk … plowing people down,” he said. “There was a girl near me just 10 feet away and he just ran right over her. I’m sure she’s dead. He just kept on going and people were flying everywhere.”

“There was a guy on the sidewalk and one of his legs was totally mushed, nothing left of his leg. There were people lying there motionless and people screaming.”

Another witness named Mark described a horrific scene that stretched several blocks and left the area littered with victims.

“We heard a loud crash and someone screaming,” he told 680 NEWS.

“A couple blocks further there was a man lying in the road. He had been hit by a (vehicle). His shoes were like 100 feet away up the road, he’d obviously been hit very hard and flung far. I checked for vital signs, he appeared to be deceased.”

“A couple blocks up there were another couple of people lying on the sidewalk being attended to by emergency personnel,” he added.

Kenneth Wu was driving nearby when he says he watched in shock as the van ran down an older woman. Wu said the driver looked him directly in the eye at one point.

“He looked at me face to face, that’s when I saw that he was a very angry and scared young guy,” Wu said. “I don’t know what his motives are.”

In a press conference on Monday evening, Mayor Tory commended police and said they “responded in a heroic fashion.”

“They did their very best and continue to do their very best,” he said. “This kind of tragic incident is not representative of how we live or who we are or anything to do with life in this city on a day to day basis,” he added. Earlier in the day Tory called for a “spirit of unity” to prevail in the city.

Tory will move a motion on Tuesday morning to adjourn city council for the day out of respect for all those affected by the tragic incident.

Premier Kathleen Wynne echoed Tory’s sentiments.

“This is a frightening thing that — as Mayor Tory said — does not, is not emblematic of who we are as a city or as a province but it is a tragedy…that we will work through but there will be a lot of sadness and pain before that happens,” she said.

Chief Mark Saunders asked for the public’s assistance and asked anyone with information to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

Subway service has been suspended on Line 1 between Finch and Sheppard stations and OPP and Ministry of Transportation crews closed ramps from Highway 401 to Yonge Street to assist police.

Security has also been heightened around the Air Canada Centre ahead of the Maple Leafs playoff game against the Bruins.

York Street will be closed between Lake Shore Boulevard and Front Street and there will be no eastbound traffic allowed on Bremner Boulevard from Simcoe Street.

The playoff tailgate event at Maple Leaf Square will be going ahead as planned.

York police have taped off a portion of Elmsley Drive near 16th Ave and Bayview Ave in Richmond Hill, the street where alleged van attack suspect Alek Minassian reportedly lives.

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