TORONTO – A 25-year-old man faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder after a van plowed into a crowd of pedestrians Monday in Toronto.
Alek Minassian is accused of driving 50 mph down the sidewalk on Yonge Street before police caught up to him blocks away. Officials said 10 people were killed and 15 were injured in the attack Monday afternoon.
A mile-long stretch of Yonge Street remains covered in police barricades and crime scene tape as police continue to investigate. It is considered an active crime scene.
The deadly van attack in Toronto is not being considered a national security issue by Canadian officials. Officials do believe this was an intentional attack by the driver on pedestrians. That still leaves the door open for terrorism but officials are not convinced about a motive.
As he was taken into custody, Minassian asked officers to shoot him, pretending to pull out a gun, police said. Toronto officers didn't shoot him, and he is in custody. Minassian did not have a gun.
Toronto busy on first spring-like day
The weather in Toronto is just starting to break away from winter and enter warmer temperatures. Monday was a pleasant spring day with even unseasonably warm temperatures. Pedestrians packed the city's streets, and Yonge Street was especially busy at the time of the attack.
Minassian took advantage of the busy sidewalks and intentionally drove the van over a curb and into the pedestrians, authorities said. Video of his arrest shows him begging police officers to kill him.
Minassian appeared in court Tuesday morning. He is charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 attempted murder charges. He needs time to obtain attorney and is being held in jail.
More about suspect
Minassian lives just a few short miles from the crime scene. He goes to school nearby. His family is Armenian.
Police said there is no sense that Minassian was radicalized in any way. What they do say is he is socially awkward.
Officials know he was researching and chatting online about the Isla Vista massacre. Elliot Rodger killed six and injured 14 in a drive-by shooting and vehicle ramming attack near the UC Santa Barbara campus in Isla Vista, California in 2014.