The families of those killed and injured in last week’s van attack in Toronto will soon see some of their expenses covered as $500,000 in donations is distributed from a fund set up to support those affected by the tragedy.
City officials say the #TorontoStrong fund, which was established following the attack, has raised more than $2.5-million in donations.
They say the initial $500,000 will be transferred to Victim Services Toronto to cover families’ funeral expenses, travel, accommodation and other immediate costs incurred following the tragedy.
Ten people were killed and 16 others were injured when a rental van mounted a sidewalk along a bustling street in north Toronto and ran down pedestrians in its path.
Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont., has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder, with another three attempted murder charges expected.
A committee established to determine the allocation of the #TorontoStrong funds has been tasked with identifying recipients and directing the donations for the greatest impact possible.
“We will work with our partners to ensure this fund is distributed in a thoughtful, impactful and accountable manner and thank all those who continue to support our city through these donations,” Mayor John Tory said Friday in a release.
Donations have also continued to come in through a partnership with Canada Zakat, a project from an Ontario-based Muslim community organization called DawaNet. A GoFundMe campaign set up by the organization has now raised approximately $220,000 to support the families and victims of the attack.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy,” said Junaid Sohail of Canada Zakat. “Together, Toronto is strong.”
Police allege Mr. Minassian rented a van and drove to Toronto’s Yonge Street and Finch Avenue area, where he began cutting a swath of destruction along one of the city’s busiest roads as well as nearby side streets.
Mr. Minassian was arrested a short time later by an officer who has earned international acclaim for taking the man into custody without firing a single shot.
Deputy police chief Peter Yuen has said Const. Ken Lam clearly exhibited and understood police training when he made the arrest. Video footage of the interaction shows Mr. Lam talking to Mr. Minassian, who can be heard shouting, “Shoot me,” and “I have a gun in my pocket.”
Funerals for several of those killed in the April 23 incident have been held this week and makeshift memorials near the scene of the attack continue to be maintained with flowers and tributes in different languages.
Don Peat, a spokesman for Tory, said earlier this week that the mayor would be speaking with the community and the local councillor about a permanent recognition of the tragic event.