Monday, April 23, 2018

9 Dead, 16 Injured After Pedestrians Struck by Van During Attack in Toronto
By Nick Westoll, Jessica Patton and David Shum
Global News

Toronto police say nine people have died and 16 are injured after multiple pedestrians were struck by a white van in Toronto Monday afternoon.

“(At) approximately 1:30 this afternoon, Toronto Police received a number of calls from citizens indicating a vehicle was driving on Yonge Street and striking a number of pedestrians between Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue,” Deputy Police Chief Peter Yuen told reporters Monday afternoon.

“We can confirm for you … right now we have nine people that are dead. Sixteen that are injured.”

Yuen said a person is in custody and the investigation by Toronto police is ongoing.

Global News observed multiple bodies on Yonge Street covered with blankets.

In a statement from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, 10 patients were brought to the hospital. Two of the victims died at hospital, five are in critical condition, two are in serious condition and one is listed in fair condition. Officials said the hospital’s emergency room has been locked down as a precaution.

A video posted on Twitter appears to show a standoff between the male suspect and police just before he was arrested.

The suspect appears to come out of the white van with an object in his hands pointed towards a police officer in the street. In the video, the officer could be heard shouting “get down on the ground now.”

The officer walked toward the man, who dropped the object and turned around with his hands in the air. It is unclear what the object was that the suspect was holding. He was subsequently taken into custody.

Yuen said police are in the process of setting up two telephone lines in response to the attack. The first one will be for victims and their families. The second will be for witnesses.

Barry Mather, a delivery driver from Bolton, told Global News Radio 640 Toronto’s Kelly Cutrara that he saw a “banged up” white van while he was making a delivery on Bogert Avenue, near Yonge and Sheppard.

“I was coming out of my van and I’d look and I’d hear this scraping and grinding noise and there’s this white Ryder van coming towards me so I had to jump out of the way.”

Nick Sanka told Global News he was studying in an area Starbucks when he saw a truck “just running through.”

“I get up, and by the time I come here, I saw someone with blood trailing…”


Sanka said the van was “definitely speeding” and that the driver appeared to be in control.

“He did seem to have control over what he was doing … so it wasn’t some sort of impairment where he was swerving,” he said.

“He just [drove] straight through – and he managed to make a perfect turn at that corner as well.”

Mayor John Tory said he has spoken with Chief Mark Saunders and other city officials and is on his way to the scene.

“There has been a very tragic incident at Yonge Street and Finch Avenue,” Tory said.

“My thoughts are with those affected by this incident and the frontline responders who are working to help those injured.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a brief statement Monday afternoon in response to the incident.

“We’re just learning about the situation in Toronto now. Our hearts go out to anyone affected,” he said.

“Obviously we’re going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours.”

Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale commended the response by emergency crews.

“Grateful for the brave and professional response of @TorontoPolice and other first responders to the horrific attack at Yonge and Finch,” he tweeted.

“Canadians are appalled at what happened. The victims and their families have our deepest condolences.”

Global News confirmed Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Vance was briefed on the incident unfolding in Toronto. A strategic advisory alert has gone out to military commanders across the country.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a post on Twitter that the province is also monitoring the situation and working with the City of Toronto and the federal government.

“My thoughts are with everyone affected,” she said.

“Thank you to the first responders caring for victims and witnesses.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the rental company of the van driven by the suspect said the company is aware of the incident.

“We are saddened by this tragic event, and our deepest sympathies go out to those impacted,” Claudia Panfil, vice president of corporate communications for Ryder System, Inc., told Global News in a statement.

“We take the safety and security related to the use of our entire fleet very seriously and we are cooperating fully with authorities.”

The Toronto Transit Commission has shut down subway service between Sheppard and Finch stations “until further notice.” Forty shuttle buses will be operating on Senlac Road.

More to come.

— With files from Kerri Breen, Amanda Connolly and Stewart Bell

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