Published: Tue, April 24, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

Nine dead, 16 injured after van runs down pedestrians in Toronto

Nine dead, 16 injured after van runs down pedestrians in Toronto

Toronto's police chief says an incident in which a rented van smashed into pedestrians appeared to have been deliberate.

Toronto officials said the white van struck the pedestrians at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs on Monday afternoon. "We are also unable right now to tell the extent or the number of persons injured", Gray said. A senior State Department official told ABC News that the USA delegation is safe. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene.

The incident occurred as Toronto was hosting foreign and public security ministers from the G7 leading industrialized nations - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. He said Canada has not changed its terrorism alert level and he has no information that would suggest a need to do so.

The van was located several blocks away, and the driver was taken into custody, according to local media. The CBC aired a video it said was shot by a bystander that showed police arresting a suspect at the scene as he shouted: "Kill me" and pointed an unidentified object at an officer.

The incident killed nine people and injured 16, he said.

I mean, this is just - people are shocked really, is really what it comes down to and just the way they describe it. People, fire hydrants, there's mail boxes being run over... "It was bad. Brutal". We will update as the situation develops. "He just kept moving", a woman added.

"I saw three or four [people] on the ground around me", he said.

"There was an elderly lady at a bus shelter". I'm sure she's dead. "Just everyone was going insane", said another man.

One witness told City News that the driver was "hitting anything that comes in the way".

"I'm so shaky - I can't believe this is happening", he said. He hit every single person on the sidewalk; any person in his way. "I saw the guy go flying..."

One witness, who was driving at the time, said he at first thought the driver was having a heart attack until he saw the white van speeding and striking people on the sidewalk. "He kept going. He kept going". All these people on the streets getting hit.

"Everyone was running all over the place", Taeb said.

At least one body was seen covered at the scene.

Video from the scene shows Minassian telling police that he "has a gun in his pocket" as they attempt to bring him into custody.

Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was briefed on the incident. "We are going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours".

In a written statement posted on Twitter, Toronto Mayor John Tory called it "a very tragic incident".

The United States and Europe have seen a string of deadly attacks in which vehicles were used to mow down pedestrians, including a 31 October attack in NY that killed eight.

The incident occurred on Yonge Street and the suspect fled between half a mile and a mile from the vehicle before being apprehended.

It happened as large crowds of office workers were on lunch breaks.

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