News

Alek Minassian charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder in Toronto van attack

Minassian, 25, is also facing 13 counts of attempted murder after allegedly ramming into pedestrians along Toronto's Yonge Street

by Tamara Khandaker and Rachel Browne
Apr 24 2018, 2:28pm

Canadian Press

The man who allegedly drove a van through a crowded Toronto street on Monday afternoon has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Alek Minassian, 25, appeared briefly in a packed Toronto courtroom on Tuesday morning. He spoke loudly, with confidence and clarity as he provided his name to the court.

Given the nature of the charges, Minassian will continue to be detained. His next court date is scheduled for May 10.

No information has been released on Minassian’s motive behind the attack, but Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters yesterday there was no doubt the actions were “deliberate.” Saunders said that Minassian was not known to police.

At least 10 people have died and 15 others were injured as a result of the incident at Yonge Street and Finch Avenue. A woman named Anne Marie D’Amico is the first victim to be identified. According to CBC News, she was an employee at Invesco, U.S. based investment management firm, who worked at the company’s Canadian headquarters on Yonge Street.

Reporters swarmed an elderly man believes to be Minassian’s father after the court had adjourned, following him to his car. He appeared to be distraught and overwhelmed. At one point, he said he was “very sorry”, before getting into his car and driving away.

Details about Minassian’s personal life are beginning to emerge through news reports.

He reportedly resides in Richmond Hill, Ontario, a suburb north of Toronto, and attended Seneca College.

The Globe and Mail spoke to those who knew Minassian who described him as a socially awkward computer nerd with no known political or religious ties.

Those who knew him from Seneca College described him as someone who appeared to suffer from a social or mental disability who could never learn to drive.

A man named Ari Blaff told CBC News that he and Minassian attended Grade 10 computer science class together at Thornlea Secondary School in Thornhill.

“It would not be, I don’t think, a misstatement to say that he wasn’t overly social,” Blaff said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed reporters in Ottawa on Tuesday morning to express his condolences for the victims and their families.

“All Canadians continue...to have questions about why this happened,” Trudeau said. “All Canadians stand with Toronto today.”