Home / World News / Toronto van attack suspect Alek Minassian charged with 10 counts of murder

Toronto van attack suspect Alek Minassian charged with 10 counts of murder

The Toronto van attack suspect has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 cases of attempted murder.

Alek Minassian, 25, is suspected of driving a rented van that mounted the pavement on a busy street at lunchtime, killing 10 people. Another 15 are believed to have been injured.

Minassian, who was arrested shortly after the attack on Monday, made his first court appearance. He wore a white jail jumpsuit and had his hands handcuffed. He showed little emotion.

He was asked to say his name and if he understood an order not to have any contact with anyone injured in the attack.

He did not enter a plea to the charges and was ordered to return to court on 10 May.

The judge ordered that he be detained without bond.

Minassian, of Richmond Hill, an area close to the attack, was captured in a tense but brief confrontation with officers a few streets away from where the van mounted the pavement and continued for a mile, leaving people bloodied and dead.


The Toronto suspect is restrained by a police officer

Video:
Hero cop brings down Toronto suspect

A number of witness accounts suggest the incident was carried out on purpose, with the police chief agreeing that the behaviour was intentional.

“The incident definitely looked deliberate,” police chief Mark Saunders told reporters.

The identities of the victims are slowly emerging, with two South Koreans believed to be among the dead.

Officials have said that although the attack has the hallmarks of other deadly vehicle assaults by Islamic State supporters in the US and Europe, it did not represent a threat to national security.

Asked if there was any evidence of a terrorist link, Mr Saunders said: “Based on what we have there’s nothing that has it to compromise the national security at this time.”


Emergency services are on the scene in Toronto

Video:
Ten dead and 15 injured in Toronto

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged the nation not to live in fear after the “senseless attack.”

Police, who have descended on Mianassian’s home, said the suspect was not previously known to them and are trying to establish a motive for the worst mass killing in Canada in decades.

A Facebook post which was made by Minassian’ social media account shortly before the attack said: “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys”

‘Incel’ is an abbreviation of the term ‘involuntarily celibate’, which was largely coined by men online who say they are unable to find women who will have sexual relationships with them.

The term is sometimes used by those not from this group to accuse a person of having a combination of a bad personality, being unattractive, treating women as sexual objects and blaming women for their supposed poor sex life.

Police mark off Alek Minassian's house in Richmond Hill, Ontario
Image:
Police mark off Alek Minassian’s house in Richmond Hill, Ontario

‘Chads and Stacys’ are terms used by this same group to refer to men and women who are sexually prolific.

The post also praised Elliot Roger, calling him a “Supreme Gentleman”. Roger killed six people and himself as well as injuring 14 in California in 2014 after uploading a YouTube video in which he explained he wanted to punish women for rejecting him.

Facebook have said the account the post was sent from did not appear to be fake.

Students who attended a Toronto vocational school with Minassian described him as withdrawn and a bit awkward.

The police officer who arrested the suspect has been praised for refusing to shoot him.

The suspect is thought to have been seeking “suicide by cop”.

As the suspect shouted, “Kill me,” the officer replied, “No, get down.”

He went on to say: “I have a gun in my pocket.” The officer replied: “I don’t care. Get down” before edging forward to get in a position to arrest him.

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