A van struck and killed nine people and injured sixteen in Toronto, Canada, this afternoon in what authorities are calling a deliberate act. According to U.S. and Canadian authorities, mental illness seems to be the cause of the incident. There does not appear to be any connection to international terrorism at this time.
“On the basis of all available information at the present time, there would appear to be no national security connection,” Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told reporters late tonight.
A white van jumped the curb at Yonge Street and Finch Avenue shortly before 1:30pm. According to witnesses the driver was swerving back and forth between the sidewalk and the street. Witnesses reported seeing bodies lying on the ground with shoes and other items scattered.
“I must have seen about five, six people being resuscitated by bystanders and by ambulance drivers. It was awful. Brutal,” eyewitness Phil Zullo told Canadian Press.
The driver was taken into custody late tonight according to Toronto Police Chief Mark Sanders. Authorities identified him as 25-year-old Alek Minassian of Richmond Hill, a northern suburb of Toronto.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mourned those who were hurt in the incident. “Our thoughts are with all those affected by the terrible incident at Yonge and Finch in Toronto. Thank you to the first responders working at the scene – we’re monitoring the situation closely,” he wrote on Twitter.
Photo by Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons