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Twenty-five minutes of horror on Yonge Street: How the Toronto van attack unfolded

The perspective from Google Street View of the route taken by the van in the attack in Toronto on Monday that left at least 10 people dead and as many as 15 injured. Alek Minassian is charged in the attack that spanned more than two kilometres of Yonge St. north of Toronto.

What we know so far: Here's the latest information on the Toronto van attack

On most days, the lunch crowd at the busy north Toronto intersection thins out by about 1:30. But on Monday, the sidewalks were busier than usual. Mothers with strollers and office workers alike lingered outside, savouring their first taste of sunshine after a long, cold winter.

Taxi driver Agyeman-Badu had just turned onto Yonge Street just south of Finch Avenue, when he noticed a white van driving on the sidewalk. He thought it was odd, but ignored it.

But when the van hit a fire hydrant, knocking a yellow newspaper box askew, he snapped to attention. He watched, horrified, as the van continued straight toward a bus shelter where a woman was standing.

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A split-second later, the woman was pinned underneath the van. The giant sheets of glass had shattered into thousands of tiny shards around her.

It was just an early sign of what was to come. Over the next 25 minutes, the 2.2 -kilometre stretch of Yonge from Finch down to Sheppard Avenue would bear witness to dozens of similarly horrific scenes. Onlookers described panicked pedestrians fleeing amidst screams, past bloodied victims and bodies left laying on the ground.

Alek Minassian, shown on his LinkedIn profile, has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Dozens of people were mowed down in a killing rampage that Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders described as “deliberate.” Officials, meanwhile, called it an “attack” – the worst such attack in Toronto’s history.

The official count, as of Monday evening, is that at least 10 are dead and 15 were injured – many of them critically.

“I saw body bags,” said Saman Tabasinejad, who lives just a stone’s throw from where the attacks started.

“I just saw one, after the other, after the other.”

Next to them, she and others said, lay the belongings they’d left behind. A pair of shoes. A handbag. A broken pair of glasses.

A Toronto resident who was driving near a van when it mounted a sidewalk and hit pedestrians says he repeatedly honked his horn to alert bystanders to the horrific incident. The Canadian Press

The first police call came at 1:27 p.m. An arrest was made at 1:52 p.m.

Mehrsa Marjani was at the Soban café at the corner of Yonge and Finch when the attack began. She said she saw people strewn across the pavement, including a woman in her 20s or 30s who appeared to have been struck on the sidewalk close to Finch.

“I saw five people injured, one in okay condition, three deadly injured. One died before my eyes,” Ms. Marjani said. The woman was covered in blood. “So many people tried to help her.”

Dainis Covers, a cook at a nearby restaurant, was driving south along Yonge when the “Ryder Truck Rental and Leasing” van beside him suddenly cut him off. Ahead of both of them, he could see a man crossing the six-lane street on foot.

Instead of slowing down, Mr. Covers said, the driver of the van seemed to speed up.

“He accelerated at the guy,” Mr. Covers said. “The guy flew up. Probably higher than the van.”

Just a few steps south, Amir Farokhpour had just walked out of the furniture store where he works. He had planned to go for lunch, but stopped when he heard a loud bang.

In front of him, the van was veering wildly down Yonge. On the road behind it was a middle-aged man, his head covered in blood.

Mr. Farokhpour ran over to help, but it was too late. “He was dead right away.”

As onlookers watched in shock, many called 911, and emergency workers tried to keep up with the carnage.

“It’s unprecedented. We’ve never seen anything like this in Toronto up until now,” said John Flengas, acting superintendent for EMS Toronto. Several victims died at the scene. Others were transported to hospital.

Along with the 10 victims initially rushed to the trauma unit at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, at least six more patients were transported to other hospitals. Four victims were taken to North York General Hospital, a spokeswoman said. One is in critical condition and three others are in stable condition.

Two other victims were rushed to the emergency department at St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto, according to a spokeswoman who declined to characterize the condition of the patients.

At Sunnybrook, dozens of police cruisers and ambulances flooded the area and an EMS bus was brought in to treat patients. The hospital locked down its emergency department “as an added precaution” and activated its emergency operations centre.

Staff met Monday afternoon to make sure there were enough beds available for the injured. The scene was “organized chaos,” said Dr. Dan Cass, chief medical executive for the hospital. He said staff was still contacting victims’ families.

Anne-Marie D'Amico, one of the 10 people killed in Monday's attack.

Facebook/Anne Marie D'Amico

One of the victims of the deadly attack was Anne-Marie D’Amico, an employee at Invesco Canada.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those impacted by this tragic event. I can now confirm that unfortunately one of our employees has succumbed to her injuries. Out of respect for her and her family, we will not be providing any further comments,” said Peter Intraligi, president of Invesco Canada, in a statement.

A view of the area on Yonge Street where the van attack took place.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

On Yonge Street, the van kept heading south.

Andy Jibb watched from the balcony of his 27th floor condo. He had been jolted from his work by the sound of crashes, then screaming. What he found below shocked him. There were at least five bodies laying on the sidewalk. At least three didn’t appear to be moving.

About halfway between Finch and Sheppard, the hulking complex at 5700 Yonge is home to the Ontario health ministry, as well of dozens of business offices. That’s where Michele Kelman, who works in IT, was heading back to after lunch at Jack Astor’s with a friend.

As they walked, they heard screams from behind them. Ms. Kelman turned and saw bodies flying through the air. Then she saw what had caused the screaming: the front end of a white van heading straight down the sidewalk toward her.

She managed to get out of the way just in time for the van to pass without touching her. But when she looked back, her friend was nowhere to be found.

“There were bodies all over,” she said, her eyes red, her hands still shaking. She scanned past a few bodies before she finally found her. Her friend later died.

At some point, the driver turned off of Yonge. The next time it was spotted was down on Bogert Avenue, a block south of Sheppard. There, onlookers watched as the van turned back onto Yonge, cutting the corner in front of Tim Hortons, and crashing into a park bench and Green P parking sign.

Again, the van continued south along Yonge. But it wouldn’t travel much further.

Accountant Subhendu Basu was driving along Poyntz Avenue when he heard sirens approach. There, he saw police cruisers, and noticed a white van approaching.

As the van neared the police cruisers, it slowed to a stop.

A man got out carrying something black in his hands and pointing it like a handgun, Mr. Basu said.

“The cop was taking all precautions, crouching down beside his car and trying to aim,” he said. “The [suspect] was just walking out in front pointing at the cop.

The officer manoeuvred toward the suspect, alternately advancing and taking cover until he eventually overpowered him. Within moments, it was over. The officer had pushed the man down onto the road. Police arrested him, and Monday night, they identified the suspect as 25-year-old Alek Minassian.

Mr. Minassian made his first appearance at the 1000 Finch St. W. Courthouse Tuesday morning, wearing a white police-issued jumpsuit.

The 25-year-old Richmond Hill resident has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

“Mr. Minassian is the alleged driver of the van that killed ten people and injured many others on Yonge Street yesterday afternoon,” assistant crown attorney Joe Callaghan said.

Justice of the Peace Stephen Waisberg established a no contact order between Mr. Minassian and the 13 people who were injured Monday.

Mr. Minassian will remain in custody until he returns to court by video remand on May 10.

“It was just a movie,” Mr. Basu said. “I was just absolutely stunned looking at what was unfolding in front of me.”

By about 8 p.m., police had almost finished removing bodies from the scene. A black coroner’s van parked near the bodies, while police officers continued patrolling the area, doing forensic work.

Across the street, people began gathering in tribute of the victims. A makeshift memorial was created, out of hand-written notes and signs of condolences written out on bristol board.

“I walked out, I saw the bodies on the ground, and I saw the streets I walked pretty much every day so I knew something had to be done,” said Konstantin Goulich, who lives nearby and helped to create the memorial.

“We have to have an opportunity to heal, but that will take time. Now we just need to express how saddened we are by what happened here today,” he said.

Others, such as Ms. Tabasinejad, the woman who saw the body bags near her home, called the incident sickening.

“It’s terrifying. These are my neighbours,” she said.

Even for Toronto, the neighbourhood is notable for its dense concentration of newcomers – mainly Chinese, Korean and Iranian families, many who own and run the businesses nearby. “This neighbourhood is all immigrants, essentially,” she said. “I just love this neighbourhood so much.”

With reports from Molly Hayes, Denise Balkissoon, Kelly Grant, Justin Ling and Jennifer La Grassa

Finch

YONGE ST.

Van was travelling

southbound on Yonge St.

FINCH AVE. W.

Two victims and people were struck near the

Shoppers Drug Mart

at Tolman St.

Victim struck

A pedestrian was struck

while crossing the street

at Kempford Blvd.

Detail

401

TORONTO

0

5

Lake Ontario

KM

CHURCHILL AVE.

BEECROFT RD.

Victim struck

at Parkview

More strikes at

Empress Ave.

North York Centre

The van drove up on the sidewalk in Mel Lastman Square, striking many pedestrians

BEECROFT RD.

More strikes just north of Sheppard Ave.

Sheppard-Yonge

SHEPPARD AVE. W.

The van

drove south through the

intersection

at Beecroft

and Sheppard.

The dashed line indicates

possible routes

POYNTZ AVE.

The van came to a stop on Poyntz Ave. where the driver was apprehended

TRISH McALASTER, TOM CARDOSO / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: GOOGLE EARTH

Finch

YONGE ST.

Van was travelling

southbound on Yonge St.

FINCH AVE. W.

Two victims and people were struck near the

Shoppers Drug Mart

at Tolman St.

Victim struck

A pedestrian was struck

while crossing the street

at Kempford Blvd.

Detail

401

TORONTO

0

5

Lake Ontario

KM

CHURCHILL AVE.

BEECROFT RD.

Victim struck

at Parkview

More strikes at

Empress Ave.

North York Centre

The van drove up on the sidewalk in Mel Lastman Square, striking many pedestrians

BEECROFT RD.

More strikes just north of Sheppard Ave.

Sheppard-Yonge

SHEPPARD AVE. W.

The van drove south through the intersection at Beecroft

and Sheppard.

The dashed line indicates

possible routes

POYNTZ AVE.

The van came to a stop on Poyntz Ave. where the driver was apprehended

TRISH McALASTER, TOM CARDOSO / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: GOOGLE EARTH

Finch

YONGE ST.

FINCH AVE. W.

Van was travelling

southbound on Yonge St.

Two victims and people were struck near the Shoppers Drug Mart

at Tolman St.

Detail

Victim struck

401

A pedestrian was struck while crossing the street at Kempford Blvd.

TORONTO

0

5

BEECROFT RD.

Lake Ontario

KM

CHURCH AVE.

CHURCHILL AVE.

Victim struck at Parkview

DORIS AVE.

More strikes at Empress Ave.

North York Centre

The van drove up on the sidewalk in Mel Lastman Square, striking many pedestrians

North York

Civic Centre

BEECROFT RD.

More strikes just north of Sheppard Ave.

Sheppard-Yonge

SHEPPARD AVE. W.

The van drove south through the intersection at Beecroft

and Sheppard.

The dashed line indicates

possible routes

POYNTZ AVE.

The van came to a stop on Poyntz Ave. where the driver was apprehended

TRISH McALASTER, TOM CARDOSO / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: GOOGLE EARTH

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