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Toronto van attack: How you can help and what we know so far

Three-year-old Camelia stands in front of the growing memorial on Yonge Street near Finch Avenue in Toronto for the victims of a van attack that killed 10 pedestrians.

Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

The latest

About the victims
  • Torontonians are learning more about the diverse range of people killed in Monday’s van attack at Yonge Street and Finch Avenue, and offering help and comfort to the loved ones they left behind.
  • The 10 dead include a Jordanian national visiting family, a Sri Lankan immigrant single mother, a South Korea-born chef working at a Brazilian steakhouse chain, a cancer survivor, an 80-year-old grandmother, a 23-year-old student and an investment-firm employee devoted to charity work. Here’s what we know about them and the 14 people injured.
  • The City of Toronto has partnered with the Toronto Foundation on a crowdfunding campaign for the victims, #TorontoStrong. The city is also working with the Canada Zakat organization, which set up a fundraiser on GoFundMe. Friends of Renuka Amarasingha, one of the 10 people killed, have organized a separate GoFundMe campaign to help her seven-year-old son.
About the attack and investigation
  • Investigators are now turning their attention to motive and filling in the gaps of the suspect’s movements in the hours leading up to the attack, which left a 2.2-kilometre trail of destruction down one of Toronto’s busiest streets.
  • Toronto police are appealing for people who witnessed the attack to call its investigative hotline (416-808-8750).
  • The police officer who arrested the suspect has been identified as Constable Ken Lam. He has been lauded for apprehending the suspect in a cool-headed manner. Deputy Chief Peter Yuen says Constable Lam “doesn’t want” the hero status but is “very appreciative.”
About the suspect
  • Suspect Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont., is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. Toronto Police said they are expecting to lay a 14th charge of attempted murder.
  • A Facebook post moments before the attack – which, according to a Facebook spokesperson, apparently came from Mr. Minassian's actual account – made reference to an "incel rebellion." The term "incel," or "involuntary celibacy," has been used by so-called men's rights activists and is often linked to mass shooter Elliot Rodger, whom the Facebook post mentioned by name.

How it happened

The attack: Around 1:30 p.m. Monday, a white van, which had a Ryder Truck Rental and Leasing logo on its side, mounted the sidewalk at the busy intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue and struck a number of people. From there, the van proceeded southbound on Yonge for several blocks toward Sheppard Avenue. Over less than 25 minutes, the van mowed people down in what Toronto’s police chief described as a “deliberate” killing rampage. The van made it roughly 2.2 km before being stopped on the sidewalk near Poyntz Avenue, with severe front-end damage.

Finch

YONGE ST.

The van was travelling south on Yonge St. from Hendon Ave., just north of Finch Ave.

FINCH AVE. W.

Two people dead and others struck near the

Shoppers Drug Mart

at Tolman St.

Victim struck and killed

A pedestrian was struck

while crossing the street

at Kempford Blvd.

Detail

401

TORONTO

0

5

Lake Ontario

KM

BEECROFT RD.

CHURCHILL AVE.

Victim struck and

killed 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.

Sheppard-Yonge

SHEPPARD AVE. W.

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.

The van was travelling south on Yonge St. from Hendon Ave., just north of Finch Ave.

FINCH AVE. W.

Two people dead and others struck near the

Shoppers Drug Mart

at Tolman St.

Victim struck and killed

A pedestrian was struck

while crossing the street

at Kempford Blvd.

Detail

401

TORONTO

0

5

Lake Ontario

KM

BEECROFT RD.

CHURCHILL AVE.

Victim struck and

killed 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.

Sheppard-Yonge

SHEPPARD AVE. W.

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

The van was travelling south on Yonge St. from Hendon Ave., just north of Finch Ave.

YONGE ST.

FINCH AVE. W.

Two people dead and others struck near the Shoppers Drug Mart

at Tolman St.

Detail

Victim struck and killed

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 and killed 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.

Sheppard-Yonge

SHEPPARD AVE. W.

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



Watch: Here is perspective from Google Street View of the route taken by the van in the attack in Toronto.

The takedown: Once the vehicle stopped, the driver got out and pointed something black at police Constable Ken Lam. Eyewitness accounts and bystander videos captured the suspect holding the object like a handgun and daring the officer to kill him. Constable Lam ignored him, advancing slowly toward the suspect, who dropped the object he was holding. No shots were fired in the encounter and Constable Lam was publicly praised for keeping a cool head. Deputy Chief Peter Yuen said he was reluctant to embrace “hero” status, but “he is very appreciative.”

Watch: Bystanders captured the moment one police officer arrested the suspect after the van attack. The Globe and Mail

In the emergency room: At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Canada’s largest trauma facility, hospital staff mobilized for a scenario they had long prepared for. The hospital was at 111 per cent capacity when staff were warned of a Code Orange, which means incoming mass casualties. Here’s health reporter Kelly Grant’s report on how the hospital found the space and manpower to care for the wounded quickly.

Paramedic ambulances are parked outside the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre on April 24, 2018. Ambulances identical to these would have transported victims of the van incident to the hospital.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The victims

Seven of those killed in the Toronto van attack. Clockwise, from top left: Munir Najjar, Betty Forsyth, Dorothy Sewell, Chul Min (Eddie) Kang, Renuka Amarasingha, Sohe Chung, Anne Marie D’Amico.

In the days after the attack, details began to emerge about some of the 10 people killed. Ontario’s chief coroner says the team of pathologists, dentists and scientists were being careful in identifying victims to ensure there is no confusion. On Friday, the identies of all 10 victims were

Here are the names of the victims, and some of what we know about them:

  • Munir Abed Najjar
  • Renuka Amarasingha
  • So He Chung
  • Anne Marie D’Amico
  • Betty Forsyth
  • Chul Min (Eddie) Kang
  • Dorothy Sewell
  • Geraldine Brady
  • Andrea Bradden
  • Ji-Hun Kim

When Mr. Minassian was charged on Tuesday, the information filed at court did not identify the 10 dead victims, but it did say he was charged with the attempted murder of the following people: Sammantha Samson, Samantha Peart, Morgan McDougall, Mavis Justino, Catherine Riddell, Aleksandra Kozhevinikova, Amir Kiumarsi, Yunsheng Tian, Jun Seok Park, Amaresh Tesfamariam, Beverly Smith and Robert Anderson. He has since been charged

The suspect

Alek Minassian, as shown on his LinkedIn profile.

Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont., was arrested in connection with Monday’s attack. At a brief court appearance Tuesday, he was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder, and ordered to appear in court by video remand on May 10. Police later said they were seeking a 14th attempted-murder charge.

Friends and classmates described Mr. Minassian as a technical wizard who barely spoke and may have had a social disability. Acquaintances who knew him in high school and at Seneca College, where he recently graduated from a computer studies program, said they did not believe he was inclined to violence.

But a picture soon emerged of Mr. Minassian’s apparent misogynists beliefs (more on that below) from his social-media posts. The armed forces also confirmed that Mr. Minassian had been in military basic training for 16 days in 2017, but was “voluntarily released” before recruit training finished.

What does ‘incel’ mean?

The suspect’s public embrace of a misogynist ideology has renewed attention on the “incel” movement, a cause connected with another mass killing in 2014.

Incel, or involuntary celibacy, is a label used by online trolls and misogynist fringe groups who blame women – or specifically, their perceived lack of sexual availability – for their problems. The term was originally coined by a woman from Toronto in the late 1990s to describe being a virgin in her 20s, but over the years, it was co-opted by so-called men’s rights movements and users of the forum website 4chan. In 2014, the label was embraced by Elliot Rodger, a California man who killed six people and then himself in a mass shooting in Isla Vista, Calif.

The “incel” label and Mr. Rodger were invoked in a Facebook post from Mr. Minassian’s account, dated moments before the Toronto van attack. It referred to an “Incel Rebellion” and praised Mr. Rodger as the “Supreme Gentleman.” A spokesperson for the social-media company told The Globe that the post appeared to come from Mr. Minassian’s real account, which Facebook quickly disabled. The post belonged to the suspect, Toronto Police Homicide Detective Sergeant Graham Gibson told The Globe, though he added that police were not investigating a particular group in connection with the attack.

Flowers, candles, and messages of sympathy are appearing at the scene of Monday's deadly van attack along Yonge Street.

How Toronto reacted

At the crime scene: Across the street from the crime scene, 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.” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mr. Tory visited the memorial that has been created. They added flowers and their own notes of condolences. Torontonians have been visiting the memorial throughout the day to offer their support. They brought flowers and candles, and wrote messages of sorrow, support and resilience in numerous languages.

Barriers: Barriers were erected at Union Station, Toronto’s main train station, in the aftermath of the attack. Officials say that increasing security was in the long-term plan but Monday’s attack expedited their actions. The measures were met with immediate debate and pushback.

The city of Toronto erected large barriers around Union Station less than a day after two dozen pedestrians were mowed down by a driver in another part of the city. Residents from around the city feel it's an action that falls short of what is really needed. The Globe and Mail

At City Hall: Flags at City Hall and civic centres were put at half-mast, and the “Toronto” sign at City Hall was dimmed.

In sports: The Toronto Maple Leafs, who hosted the Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre on Monday night, held a short tribute before their game. The Blue Jays, Raptors and Toronto FC also tweeted their condolences.

Political reaction in Canada

Toronto Mayor John Tory:

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale:

Watch: Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the deadly van attack in north Toronto on Monday doesn’t appear to be connected to national security. The Canadian Press

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh:

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer:

Political reaction around the world

Queen Elizabeth II:

U.S. President Donald Trump:

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence:

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto:

French President Emmanuel Macron:

Commentary and analysis

Michael Samoilov: The van attack left a scar near my high school, but I know we will heal with time

David Futrelle: Can the radicalization of incels be stopped?

Jamil Jivani: When young men play the victim – and then take the lives of others

Stephanie Carvin: It invoked terror - but we can’t call the Toronto van attack terrorism

Marcus Gee: A diverse community pulling together is in North York’s DNA

André Picard: Stop using mental illness to explain away violence. It’s not that simple

John Ibbitson: The truths Canada needs to remember

Compiled by Globe staff

Based on reporting from Les Perreaux, Molly Hayes, Tu Thanh Ha, Hannah Daley, Ann Hui, Joe Friesen, Oliver Moore, Robert Fife, Heather Norman, Denise Balkissoon, Kelly Grant, Justin Ling, Jennifer La Grassa, Stephanie Chambers, Jana G. Pruden, Colin Freeze, Josh O’Kane, Jeff Gray, Jill Mahoney, Andrea Woo, David Shoalts, Justin Giovannetti, Adrian Morrow and The Canadian Press

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that So He Chung was 23. In fact, she is 22. She was also incorrectly referred to as Sohe Chung. This version has been updated.
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