(Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press via AP)

10 Dead, 15 Injured After Van Plows Into Pedestrians In Toronto

April 23, 2018 - 3:26 pm
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TORONTO (1010 WINS/AP) --  Ten people were killed and 15 were injured after a van apparently jumped a curb Monday in a busy intersection in Toronto.

The van fled the scene before it was found and the driver was taken into custody, Canadian police said.

A police official told CNN it was deliberate. Police identified the suspect as Alex Minassian, 25.

Toronto Police Service Acting Chief Peter Yuen said around 1:30 p.m., police received a number of calls indicating a vehicle barreling down Yonge Street between Finch and Sheppard avenues.

Yuen said in the afternoon that nine people had been killed and 16 injured, but Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said Monday evening that a tenth person had died.

Police quickly located the vehicle and took the driver into custody, and the incident is being investigated, Yuen said.

Yuen said police were still interviewing witnesses and examining surveillance video of the incident as part of what he called a "complex" investigation.

"I can assure the public all our available resources have been brought in to investigate this tragic situation," he said.

Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said that it was too soon to say whether the crash was a case of international terrorism and that the government had not raised its terrorism alert.

A witness, Phil Zullo, told Canadian Press that he saw police arresting a man who had been driving a Ryder rental truck and saw people "strewn all over the road" where the incident occurred.

"It must have seen about five, six people being resuscitated by bystanders and by ambulance drivers," Zullo said. "It was awful. Brutal."

Ali Shaker, who was driving near the van at the time, told Canadian broadcast outlet CP24 that the driver appeared to be moving deliberately through the crowd at more than 30 mph.

"He just went on the sidewalk," a distraught Shaker said. "He just started hitting everybody, man. He hit every single person on the sidewalk. Anybody in his way he would hit."

Police shut down the Yonge and Finch intersection following the Monday afternoon incident and Toronto's transit agency said it has suspended service on the subway line running through the area.

The incident occurred as Cabinet ministers from the major industrial countries were gathered in Canada to discuss a range of international issues in the run-up to the G7 meeting near Quebec City in June.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a tweet saying his office was monitoring the situation.

"Our thoughts are with all those affected by the terrible incident at Yonge and Finch in Toronto," Trudeau said. "Thank you to the first responders working at the scene - we're monitoring the situation closely."

The NYPD said Monday afternoon that it was monitoring the developments in Toronto. The Toronto incident did not involve any known nexus to New York City, the NYPD said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also tweeted, "Our prayers are with the victims of today's horrific van attack in Toronto. We extend our deepest condolences to their families and loved ones."

As 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported, there was also just a bit more of a police presence in Times Square Monday evening. That was fine with one Chicago woman.

“I think it’s just the way we live, I mean, probably good that it’s more cops. I didn’t notice it. I didn’t realize it. There’s a car right there, but I figured just because it’s a busy tourist area than New York,” she said.

And even though vehicles on the sidewalk have also proven deadly right in Times Square and elsewhere around the world, one man named Kevin said he doesn’t give it much thought.

“Sadly, we give very – I give personally very scant attention to it,” he said.

A man from Florida said no matter how many barricades are up, someone can still do what they want to do if they’re determined enough.

(Copyright 2018 1010 WINS. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)