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24 Apr 2018

No terrorist connection proven in Toronto attack - 9 dead and 15 injured

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"The Toronto driver wanted to be killed"

The man had rented the white van, and deliberately chose to drive up on the sidewalk at high speed on Yonge Street in Toronto,  a shopping street with large amounts of people.

At least 25 people were hit by the car. Ten people perished in the attack, and the remaining victims were injured.

Canada's threat level is remaining the same following the van attack in Toronto, reports the CBC. 

Canada's national terrorism threat level is considered to be medium, where it's been since the fall of 2014. That means a violent act of terrorism could occur and that additional security measures are already in place to keep Canadians safe.

No connections between the arrested man and any terrorist groups have been found, but a terrorist or extreme  political has not been ruled out either.  However - Monday´s event has not given authorities reason to raise the level:

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says with the information available at this time, there's no connection between the attack and any security threat to Canada.

A policeman is celebrated for his cool actions after the deadly van drama in Toronto.

- Kill me! shouted the offender and pretended to pull a weapon.

- I do not care - lay down! responded to the police.

At least ten people were killed during the bus driver's insane car ride. He has been identified as a local 25-year-old without known terrorist associations.

His motive is unclear, and nobody may ever have known if it had not been for the police constable. After the bloody ride, the 25-year-old jumps out of the white van and is confronted by the police. On a video published by the media company CBC, the perpetrator repeatedly pretends to pull a weapon.

- Kill me! he screamed at the lone police man, who was on the other side a police car, just a few meters away.

But the police man wanted the man alive, so that he could be interrogated for information.


"Suicide by cop"

The policeman takes some nervous steps back and forth, with his weapon targeted at the perpetrator, but does not open fire but shouts over and over again:

- Lay down!

The war-of-wills ends with the suspect obeying, so that he can be arrested. Perhaps his interrogation can spread more light on what lies behind the event.

"It is clear that the suspect wanted to  be executed. He sought a "suicide by cop", said retired police officer Gary Clement to Reuters news agency.

- In such a situation, it´s all about muscle memory. This guy (the police man) reacted very mature.

After the massacre, which happened at lunchtime local East Coast Time, the perpetrator was identified during the evening as a 25-year-old from the Richmond Hill district of the Canadian metropolitan area. The police have not had any dealings with him before and have not found any links with terrorist groups.


Many witnessed the attack

Several people in Toronto were witnesses to when the van drove up on the sidewalk.

A man drove followed the van and honked to draw people´s attention to the danger.

"I saw at least seven people who were bullied, some flew into the air when they met," the witness said to the BBC.


Raj Irshad, who was working at a gas station one block from the spot where the van drove up on the sidewalk, tells CNN that he saw a number of bodies on the sidewalk.

Another person saw when a man crossing the street was hit.

After that, all hell broke loose. The vehicle drove at about 60 mph (just under 100 km / h),  says the witness to CNN.

Steve, another witness,  was shocked.

"I've never seen anything like that," he says.

Another witness stated that he first thought the driver in the van had had a heart attack or some other disease.

"He kept driving over people, it was a nightmare".

A person who sat in his car drove followed the van when he saw it pass at high speed.

- People, fire posts, and mailboxes were pushed over.

As he pursued the van, he was constantly trying to make people aware of the imminent danger.

"I saw at least seven people being hit,  some flew up in the air upon impact," he told the BBC.

Immediately after the incident, Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, spoke. He called the act "a very tragic event".