Connect with us

National

10 Dead, 15 Injured in Van Ramming on Toronto Street; Driver in Custody

Published

on

Police in Canada’s biggest city are piecing together witness accounts and surveillance video trying to determine why a driver plowed a rented van along a crowded sidewalk, killing 10 people and injuring 15 in what many said seemed a deliberate attack.

A 25-year-old suspect was quickly captured in a tense but brief confrontation with officers a few blocks away from where his van jumped the sidewalk Monday and continued for a mile, leaving people bloodied and dead in his wake. But authorities so far had not disclosed a possible motive or cause even as the police chief agreed with witnesses that it seemed intentional.

“The incident definitely looked deliberate,” Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters at a late-night news conference.

Saunders said the suspect, Alek Minassian, who lives in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, had not been known to police previously. An online social media profile described him as a college student.

Officials would not comment on a possible motive except to play down a possible connection to terrorism, a thought that occurred to many following a series of attacks involving trucks and pedestrians in Europe and the presence in Toronto this week of Cabinet ministers from the G7 nations.Asked if there was any evidence of a terrorist link, the chief said only, “Based on what we have there’s nothing that has it to compromise the national security at this time.”


A senior national government official said earlier that authorities had not turned over the investigation to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a sign that investigators believed it was unlikely that terrorism was the motive. The official agreed to reveal that information only if not quoted by name.

Authorities released few details in the case, saying the investigation was still underway, with witnesses being interviewed and surveillance video being examined.

“I can assure the public all our available resources have been brought in to investigate this tragic situation,” Toronto Police Services Deputy Chief Peter Yuen said earlier.

Police said the suspect was scheduled to appear in court at 10 a.m. Tuesday, and that information on the charges against him would be released at that time.

The incident occurred as Cabinet ministers from the major industrial countries were gathered in Canada to discuss a range of international issues in the run-up to the G7 meeting near Quebec City in June. Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale called the incident a “horrific attack” and said the G7 foreign ministers extended their condolences.

The driver was heading south on busy Yonge Street around 1:30 p.m. and the streets were crowded with people enjoying an unseasonably warm day when the van jumped onto the sidewalk.

Ali Shaker, who was driving near the van at the time, told Canadian broadcast outlet CP24 that the driver appeared to be moving deliberately through the crowd at more than 30 mph.

“He just went on the sidewalk,” a distraught Shaker said. “He just started hitting everybody, man. He hit every single person on the sidewalk. Anybody in his way he would hit.”

Witness Peter Kang told CTV News that the driver did not seem to make any effort to stop.

“If it was an accident he would have stopped,” Kang said. “But the person just went through the sidewalk. He could have stopped.”

Video broadcast on several Canadian outlets showed police arresting the driver, dressed in dark clothes, after officers surrounded him and his rental Ryder van several blocks from where the incident occurred in the North York neighborhood of northern Toronto. He appeared to make some sort of gesture at the police with an object in his hand just before they ordered him to lie down on the ground and took him away.

Witness Phil Zullo told Canadian Press that he saw police arresting the suspect and people “strewn all over the road” where the incident occurred.

“I must have seen about five, six people being resuscitated by bystanders and by ambulance drivers,” Zullo said. “It was awful. Brutal.”

Police shut down the Yonge and Finch intersection following the incident and Toronto’s transit agency said it had suspended service on the subway line running through the area.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his sympathies for those involved.

“We should all feel safe walking in our cities and communities,” he said. “We are monitoring this situation closely, and will continue working with our law enforcement partners around the country to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians.”

___

Associated Press writers Ben Fox in Miami and Rob Gillies in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, contributed to this report.

Source: Associated Press

Latest

Less Than a Day After a Terrorist Attack New Zealand To Change Gun Laws After Mosque Shooting

Published

on

Less than a day after a terrorist attack at two mosques that left 49 people dead and several fighting for their lives, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she will change gun laws of the country, with the prime minister noting that the New Zealand government is now looking at banning semi-automatic weapons.

“While the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers,” Ardern said during a Saturday morning news conference in Wellington, cited by Bloomberg. “I can tell you one thing right now, our guns laws will change.”

“There were five guns used by the primary perpetrator,” she said at the news conference. “There were two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns. The offender was in possession of a gun license. I’m advised this was acquired in November of 2017. A lever-action firearm was also found.”

The suspected attacker was not on a government watch list in either New Zealand or Australia, and had bought five guns legally according to the PM.


The suspected gunman got a “category A” firearms license in 2017, and began stockpiling weapons legally at that point, Ardern told reporters on Saturday. The “mere fact” that this happened means people will want to see a change to gun laws, and she was committed to supporting that, she added.

In what Ardern described as a well-planned terrorist attack, a shooter walked into a packed mosque in the South Island city of Christchurch on Friday afternoon and opened fire on worshippers, filming and live-streaming the act to social media. After killing 41 people there, he drove to another mosque and continued the massacre, murdering a further seven people. Another person died in hospital.

Shortly before the attack, he published a 73-page ‘manifesto’ in which he vowed “revenge” against Muslim “invaders” and said he was inspired by Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.

Most of the victims were at the Al Noor mosque, as the attacker was reportedly chased out of the Linwood mosque by a “well known Muslim local” who fired two shots in pursuit, according to the New Zealand Herald. The Herald quoted one of the witnesses who said that the gunman was confronted by a mosque caretaker, who wrestled one of his guns away but did not shoot because he “couldn’t find the trigger.”

Currently, New Zealand restricts the purchase of “military-style semi-automatic weapons” to those 18 or older. The minimum legal age to buy a firearm is 16. Anyone the police consider to be “fit and proper” can get a firearms license – provided they pass a background check involving criminal and medical records. Registration of individual weapons is not required.

Until Friday, the biggest massacre in the country’s history happened 30 years ago, when a man named David Gray went on a shooting rampage, killing 13 people.

Following that attack, the nation’s gun laws – which were first passed in 1983 – came under scrutiny according to CNN. The ensuing debate led to a 1992 amendment on the regulation of military-style semi-automatic firearms. Despite those laws, New Zealand’s weapons legislation is considered more relaxed than most Western countries outside of the USA. Gun owners do need a license but they aren’t required to register their guns – unlike in neighboring Australia.

New Zealand police officers are not routinely armed, but recent figures suggest more officers are in favor of carrying guns. A 2017 survey from the New Zealand Police Association showed that that 66% of its members support arming officers, according to TVNZ. That figure has significantly increased from a decade ago, when 48% of officers supported general arming in 2008.

New Zealand also has a low murder rate, with a total of 35 homicides in 2017, fewer than the number of people who died in Friday’s double mosque attack.

Source: Zero Hedge

Continue Reading

Latest

Senator Fraser Anning egged after lashing out at Muslims: ‘They are the perpetrators’

Published

on

Senator Fraser Anning has been egged at an organised event in Melbourne which saw protestors and supporters of the controversial identity clash in wild scenes.

It came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed the Queensland Senator in the wake of the fatal Christchurch mosque massacre.

Senator Anning had earlier been widely condemned for his “disgusting” comments after he released a media statement yesterday afternoon, in which he said the attacks highlighted the “growing fear over an increasing Muslim presence” in Australian and New Zealand communities.

 

He went on to claim the real cause of the bloodshed that’s left at least 49 people dead is New Zealand’s immigration policy.

At the event in Moorabbin, on Saturday, a man can be seen smashing an egg over the senator’s head as he was speaking at a press conference. The man was filming on his phone as he smashed the egg on top of Mr Anning’s head.


A shocked Mr Anning slapped the man’s face in response before a fight broke out.

The man was held down and questioned by officials before being led away by police.

 

Read More Here

Continue Reading

Latest

A Suspect In New Zealand Mass Shootings Appears To Be A White Supremacist

Published

on

A man accused of opening fire Friday at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing dozens of worshippers, appears to have been motivated by white supremacy and extremism that he saw in the United States.

During a news conference, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison characterized the alleged shooter as an “extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.” Four suspects were taken into custody Friday in connection with the attack. The alleged gunman was later charged with murder.

The suspect, whose identity has not been confirmed, appears to have publicly posted a 74-page manifesto to Twitter and the online forum 8chan in which he declared his hatred for Muslim immigrants in Europe and idolized U.S. extremist movements. He also appears to have live-streamed part of the horrific attack in a now-deleted video on Facebook.

HuffPost has chosen not to provide a link to either piece of media. The author at times wrote in an over-the-top, possibly sarcastic voice, making specific passages difficult to discern, but an obsession with white supremacist ideas persists throughout the manifesto. He also repeatedly stated that he intended to use the media to give a platform to his views.

In the rambling manifesto, he claimed that he donated to white supremacist groups and said he idolized American mass shooters. He also recited the “14 words,” a popular white supremacist slogan that has been repeated by other North American white supremacists, such as Faith Goldy: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”


The title of his manifesto ― “The Great Replacement” ― is a reference to a 2012 French book by the same name that has become a talking point for white supremacists all over the world. The book espouses the paranoid theory that mass migration from Muslim-majority countries will dilute and ultimately end white culture and identity. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) ― a white supremacist himself ― brought up these fears when asked last year about the “great replacement” concept during an extensive interview with an Austrian far-right publication.

An image posted to the author’s Twitter account showed rifle magazines with numerous names written on them, including Alexandre Bissonnette, who is serving a life sentence for shooting and killing six people at a Quebec City, Canada, mosque in 2017. Also named was Luca Traini, a far-right extremist suspected of shooting six Africans in Italy in February 2018. The magazines also referenced multiple battles in which the Ottoman Empire was defeated.

Read More Here

Continue Reading

Trending