At 1 p.m. on Monday, a rental van drove onto a sidewalk in Toronto, Canada, crashing into pedestrians and anything else that blocked its path. The attack killed 10 people and injured 15. The driver, identified by Toronto police as Alek Minassian, 25, is in police custody after being arrested at the scene.
Witnesses recounted seeing the van smash into mailboxes, fire hydrants and innocent bystanders, whose bodies were seen flying through the air. His route of attack reportedly extended for two kilometres, before Minassian stopped and exited the van.
A lone policeman approached the man with his gun pointed. Cellphone recordings of the arrest show the attacker holding a black object, the size of a gun, yelling “shoot me!”
“Get down!” the officer yelled.
“I have a gun in my pocket!” Minassian repeated, to which the officer replied: “I don’t care. Get down.”
The attacker walked toward the officer, brandishing the still unknown object in his hand, until he finally submitted, dropping the object and laying on the sidewalk with his hands behind his back.
The unnamed police officer was praised for the arrest, particularly in this time when innocent people in the neighbouring United States have been shot by police for holding objects, including anything from a cell phone to a shower head.
The motive for the attack is unknown. Minassian will appear in court today at 10a.m. local time. Investigators will likely remain at the crime scene for several days.
Statements of condolence and solidarity came from around the continent, with Canadian Prime Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised first responders for facing “danger without hesitation,” saying “their efforts no doubt saved lives and prevented further injuries.”
American Vice President Mike Pence said in a Tweet that the “American people stand shoulder-to-shoulder with [their] neighbours in Canada.”