A 27-year-old man is in custody following what police have called an “unprovoked” attack against two Canadian Forces members in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on March 14. CityNews reports that the man walked into the recruiting center located at 4900 Yonge Street in Toronto and attacked a uniformed Canadian Forces member.
27 y/o man in custody after injuring 2 Canadian Forces members in poss. terror attack in North York building pic.twitter.com/DXkyZt9070
— Ashley Carter (@AshCarterGlobal) March 14, 2016
While others in the building were able to subdue the suspect before police arrived, another Canadian Forces member was also injured. Both members are deemed to have non-life threatening injuries, but due to unspecified statements made during the attack by the attacker, police are investigating the possibility that the attack is somehow linked to terrorism.
The Honorable Rona Ambrose, the interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and leader of the Official Opposition of the Canadian government, was swift in issuing a statement on the Conservative Party’s website about the attack. While she expressed her hopes that the Canadian Forces members who were injured in the attack recover quickly, she also noted that the attacker should receive the full brunt of the law when it comes to facing his crime.
“While we have no confirmation of the reasons for this attack, it is my hope that regardless of the motivation, the perpetrator faces the full force and weight of the criminal justice system for his actions,” she said in the statement.
Some on social media could not believe that one of the leads on the Toronto Star’s website shortly after the attack on the Canadian Forces members was about the Toronto Transit Commission’s monthly receipt of four streetcars beginning in April. Although the Toronto Star’s lead story is about the appalling attack on Canadian Forces members, Twitter user Ray Heard expressed his disbelief about the newspaper’s decision to run with the TTC story over the attack.
— Ray Heard (@RayHeard) March 15, 2016
Exception was also taken with Toronto Chief of Police Mark Saunders’ decision to refer to the alleged attacker as a gentleman.
— Ray Heard (@RayHeard) March 15, 2016
Saunders said that the suspect has been sent to a hospital to conduct assessments on his mental health and added that the alleged attacker made some statements while held in custody that raised “some concern.”
Meanwhile, Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan also took to Twitter to express his sorrow about the attack on two Canadian Forces members. Like his colleague Ambrose, he also praised the acts of the other Canadian Forces members in the building that led to the alleged attacker being subdued.
“My thoughts are with the Canadian Forces members injured today in Toronto, and with those who responded bravely in the face of danger,” he said.
Globe and Mail reports that Toronto Police are currently working with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in order to determine whether the attack on Canadian Forces members could be considered a terrorist-like assault. While no terrorist links have currently been expressed in relation to the attack, the alleged attacker’s words, which have not been revealed, according to reports, were enough to set investigations in motion regarding potential terrorism.
The Canadian Forces are part of the larger military campaign, led by the U.S., designed to recapture land in Syria and Iraq that has been claimed by the Islamic State. Now, though, the Canadian mission is focused on military training instead of bombing runs.
— CTVMorningYYC (@CTVMorningYYC) March 15, 2016
Saunders said that were it not for the fast thinking of other Canadian Forces members present in the recruiting center at the time, the situation could have been far more tragic. He said it was due to the training and subsequent reaction of the Canadian Forces members present at the time that injuries were not more severe.
[Photo by Jag Gundu/Getty Images]