The man accused of killing 10 people in a Toronto van attack told police he had communicated with two incel mass killers online, and hoped his attack would inspire a wave of killings by other sexually frustrated misogynists.
Speaking to a detective just hours after he drove a rented van into crowds of pedestrians at a busy Toronto intersection on April 23 last year, Alek Minassian claimed he had exchanged messages online with Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in Isla Vista, California, in 2014, and Chris Harper-Mercer, who killed nine people at an Oregon college a year later.
The four-hour police interview with the alleged killer was released to media when a publication ban was lifted Friday.
Minassian said he considered the Isla Vista killer, who framed his violence as an act of revenge against women for sexually rejecting him, as the “founding forefather” of the incel movement, and said his 2014 mass killing had inspired him to carry out his own attack. “It was time to take action and not just sit on the sidelines and just fester in my own sadness,” he said.
The 26-year-old, who faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder, told police he carried out the attack as an act of “retribution” against a society in which virgins like himself were sexually rejected by women in favour of “obnoxious brutes.”
“I was thinking that I would inspire future masses to join me in my uprising,” he said. Asked what he felt about the fact he had killed 10 people, he said: “I feel like I accomplished my mission.”
Minassian said he discussed his frustrations with other incels online, first making contact with Rodger on Reddit, before migrating to the 4chan message board.
"We found each other very interesting," he said of the Isla Vista killer. "We discussed our frustrations at society and being unable to get laid and we were plotting a certain timed strike … on society in order to confuse and shake the foundations just to put all the ‘normies’ in a state of panic.”
He said he also communicated with the man who fatally shot nine people and injured eight others at Umpqua Community College in Oregon in 2015. Before he shot himself, the Umpqua assailant gave a survivor documents in which he expressed his sexual frustration and despair at his isolated life.
Minassian explicitly praised the Isla Vista shooter in a Facebook post made minutes before he launched his deadly attack that read: “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” But the police interview is the first suggestion there was direct communication between the men.
Online message boards have also been under scrutiny following a recent string of white supremacist terror attacks in which the killers used the forum to post claims of responsibility and urge others to follow suit. Christchurch gunman Brenton Tarrant, who killed 51 Muslims in New Zealand in March; John T. Earnest, charged with murder and attempted murder for a shooting in a synagogue in Poway, California in April; and Patrick Crusius, charged with the murder of 22 people in El Paso in August, all posted their “manifestos” on 8chan, an unmoderated messageboard notorious for its violent white supremacist content.
8chan was shut down following the El Paso attack, but users since migrated to other boards. Last month, a Norwegian white supremacist who attempted to shoot up a mosque, after allegedly killing his Chinese stepsister, posted a message on the EndChan forum praising the Christchurch shooter and calling on others to follow in their footsteps.
Eight women and two men, aged between 22 and 94, were killed in the Toronto attack. The accused as not yet entered a plea in the case, which is due to be heard in a judge-only trial beginning in February.
Cover: Signs are left at a vigil on Yonge Street in Toronto, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, after multiple people were killed and others injured in Monday's deadly attack in which a van struck pedestrians on a Toronto sidewalk. (Galit Rodan/The Canadian Press via AP)