A man identified as Alek Minassian has been arrested as the suspect in the Toronto van attack that has left 10 people dead and others injured. Minassian is due in court this morning reportedly to be formally charged for crimes related to intentionally driving a white Ryder van onto the sidewalk and hitting “everything in his path” for approximately a half mile within the Toronto city limits. Alek Minassian was officially charged with 10 counts of murder this morning.
What Is Known So Far About Alek Minassian
The story is developing, but here is what is known about suspected Toronto van crash driver Alek Minassian at this point, according to Heavy. Alek Minassian, 25, is a student at Seneca College in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, according to his LinkedIn page, and a report from CNN said that Minassian is known to Canadian law enforcement.
According to U.S. and Canadian law enforcement officials, Alek Minassian allegedly researched and chatted online about the Isla Vista killings in California back in 2014. The case involved 22-year old Elliott Rodger who killed six people and injured 14 when he went on a homicidal rampage. Rodger stabbed three men in his apartment before driving to a sorority house where he shot three students. After that, Rodger drove to a deli and shot another student, and then began driving through the city shooting pedestrians while swerving to hit some with his car. He later killed himself with a gunshot wound to the head.
A fellow student at Seneca College, Joseph Pham, confirmed that Alek Minassian was in class last week and described him as a loner who was “socially awkward.”
“He didn’t really talk to anyone.”
Alek Minassian was arrested approximately 26 minutes after the first 911 call reported a white Ryder van driving recklessly on a Toronto street. Sources say that Alek Minassian pulled what looked like a gun on police after he attempted to flee the scene, abandoning the van on the sidewalk. Police say that no gun was found on Minassian.
Minassian Has Been Called ‘Socially Awkward’ By Classmates
Ari Bluff, who attended Thornlea High School with Alek Minassian, says that Minassian was always a loner and awkward.
“I remember seeing him probably just walking down the halls, usually by himself, or in the cafeteria by himself. My memory is not perfect, but certainly, it would not be, I don’t think, a misstatement to say that he wasn’t overly social.”
'The policeman who chose not to shoot Alek Minassian in Toronto proves that real heroes don't use guns' https://t.co/dI5laxUg2i— The Independent (@Independent) April 24, 2018
Canadian Officials Have Not Connected Alek Minassian To Terrorism
Business Insider Nordic says that Ralph Goodale, Canada’s public safety minister, says that at this time, there is no connection between Alek Minassian and terrorism. Goodale says that the actions of Minassian seem deliberate.
“I’ve had the opportunity to consult with the senior officials of the security and police agencies of the Government of Canada, and on the basis of all available information at the present time there would appear to be no national security connection to this particular incident.”
At this time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not raising the threat level.