TORONTO (CBSNewYork/AP) — Ten people were killed when a rental van climbed onto the curb and hit pedestrians Monday afternoon in Toronto, Canadian police said.
Fifteen people were injured in the incident.
The driver is now in custody.
A CBS News source identified the suspect as Alek Minassian, 25.
“At this point it’s too early to tell what if any motive there was,” Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray said.
Witnesses said the van climbed onto the sidewalk, where it struck pedestrians and kept driving.
One witness said the van did not appear to be out of control as it struck people.
Another said the van struck a pedestrian in the crosswalk before veering onto the sidewalk.
“It was just clear as day, just an ordinary day, and I saw a guy get hit by a van,” one witness said. “I just saw the guy go flying and I heard the bang… I saw a lot of people lying on the sidewalk in pools of blood.”
“It’s a gruesome scene, it’s really bad out there. I couldn’t believe what I seen, man,” said another witness. “One person got dragged on and their blood is all over Yonge and Empress. It’s really bad out there.
“He’s just hitting people one by one… Oh man, it was like a nightmare,” he added.
“It must have seen about five, six people being resuscitated by bystanders and by ambulance drivers,” witness Phil Zullo said. “It was awful. Brutal.”
“Just pandemonium broke loose. Just everyone was going crazy,” said another man.
“So many people just shouting, ‘stop the car,’ but he didn’t. He just kept moving,” a woman added.
Police shut down the Yonge and Finch intersection following the incident, and Toronto’s transit agency suspended service on the subway line running through the area.
“May I begin by expressing on behalf of all of the people of Toronto, and on behalf of myself and the members of the Toronto city council, our profound condolences to those who have fallen victim to this terrible act this afternoon,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said. “Our hearts and our thoughts and our prayers go out to the families of those involved, to their friends, to their coworkers.”
“This is a time when this community should come together. These are not the kinds of things we expect to happen in this city. We hope they don’t happen anywhere in the world, but we especially don’t expect them to happen in Toronto. But things are as they are,” Tory said. “I hope that we will, as a city, remind ourselves of the fact that we are admired around the world for being inclusive, andfor being accepting, and understanding and considerate and that we are united in solidarity, especially with those who have fallen victim to this terrible tragedy today.”
“I also want to offer my condolences to the families of the victims of this tragic event that took place,” Assistant Police Chief Peter Yuen said. “Toronto police service has mobilized all available resources, and I can assure the public, all our available resources have been brought in to address this tragic situation and to investigate this situation. And I also want to assure the public that the rest of the city is adequately policed by the rest of our resources.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his sympathies for those involved. “Our hearts go out to everyone affected,” Trudeau said in Ottawa. “We are going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours.”
At the NHL playoff game in Toronto there were encouraging words followed by a moment of silence.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, our first responders and to all those affected. All of Toronto is with you,” the announcers said.
“Ryder is aware of an incident involving a Ryder rental van striking pedestrians in Toronto,” the rental company said in a statement. “We are saddened by this tragic event, and our deepest sympathies go out to those impacted. We take the safety and security related to the use of our entire fleet very seriously and we are cooperating fully with authorities.”
The NYPD’s anti-terrorism unit said it was monitoring the situation.
Monday’s incident occurred as Cabinet ministers from the G7 countries were gathered in Toronto to discuss a range of international issues in the run-up to the G7 meeting near Quebec City in June.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)