Today's Deadly Van Incident On Yonge Street

Today, shortly before 1:30pm, a man driving a white rental van struck a number of pedestrians between Finch and Sheppard on Yonge Street. Toronto Police have confirmed 9 people are dead and 16 are injured, 5 critically. The driver is in police custody.

If you're looking for speculation and hot takes regarding this horrific tragedy, this isn't the place for you. I will report the facts as they're discovered, corroborated and revealed.

If you can donate blood, I urge you to do so as often as possible. It took me far too long to realize this, and now my biggest challenge is waiting long enough before donating. Start today - make an appointment at a clinic near you at https://blood.ca.

Update: According to NBC News, the driver's name is Alek Minassian and he is 25 years old.

Multiple U.S. and Canadian law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation told NBC News that mental illness was the leading theory based on the preliminary investigation into the incident.

Update 2: CBC reports he lionized Elliot Rodger and referred to himself as an “incel,” or an “involuntarily celibate” person who was seeking revenge on society.

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Comments (33 - click here to join in!)

James Edgar

Horrific. I work in the area , except for finding a stray can of tuna in the cupboard i thought i was going to have to buy lunch today. If i had there's a good chance i would have been on yonge street when this was going down. Probably a witness as I usually stay on the easy side of yonge but you never know.

A riding friend works by Mel lastman square and walks up to finch back south to the 401 and back to work everyday at lunch. He had just got back to work when this happened.

Far to close to home for my liking.

I wish i could donate blood but I'm Type 1 diabetic. :(

April 23, 2018 @ 8:00 PM

Jody Thornton

I was at a voice audition today, and the subway service was suspended north of Sheppard, so I walked the rest of the way to Finch station. What I saw was pretty horrible, including a partially covered body by the Shoppers just south of Finch. I feel like I'm in a haze to be honest. It does feel very surreal.

April 23, 2018 @ 8:06 PM

Aidan

I want to donate blood as well, unfortunately because Canadian Blood Services is homophobic I cannot!

April 23, 2018 @ 8:16 PM

Urooj Islam

Thanks for the post and information.

I don't know what it says about our current climate that refreshing the Wikipedia page of a story periodically is the most effective way to follow it without being bombarded by politics and people trying to apply their own narratives to a tragedy.

Social media must be especially bad today, glad I am not on Twitter anymore.

April 23, 2018 @ 9:07 PM

dale

I donated blood a few times & then after my cancer diagnosis & surgery in late 90's I cannot. My 1 son at 26 years old donates every 8 months since he was 18 & I applaud him for that.
Horrific tragedy overall but not surprised with previous.
Where is Doug Ford? Wynne & Horvath were at the news conference at 8PM tonight.

April 23, 2018 @ 9:09 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Urooj Islam

That depends on who you follow. :)

April 23, 2018 @ 9:16 PM

Ben V

Rampant racism and Miss information was spread yesterday. It's sad to see search vitriol from my fellow Canadians. However you can see however you can see there is a group of people that are just waiting for something like this to happen that will involve a person or persons of a certain skin color. Yesterday it was very evidence that the group Ontario proud it's full of racist bigots and race baiters if you are following that group and believe that they care about Ontario and just getting the wynne government outlook no further than the comments their base left yesterday.

Kudos to the Toronto cops that took down the guy peacefully to the First Responders and to anybody who helped these people after such a tragedy. The only good thing to come out of yesterday was watching how Toronto for the majority will come together to support each other and help each other out in situations like this.

As Mike says donate blood

April 24, 2018 @ 7:38 AM

James Edgar

Still in shock this morning. Getting off the 401 to head to my office and seeing Yonge Street so empty north of Sheppard was a surreal .

My twitter feed was pretty good , nobody i follow posted anything I saw that was racist BS but on Facebook i have seen some dumb shit comments and i'll be thinning the herd this morning.

April 24, 2018 @ 8:20 AM

Philly-Bob

@ Ben - you are so right. As soon as the news dropped, they guys out in the warehouse at my work were asking me if I heard about the terrorist attack. I asked them how they knew it was a terrorist attack, had someone taken credit??

Their response was "look at the guys last name"

Guess what people...there are sicko's in every shape size and shade....

And yeah...Ontario Proud are a bunch of assholes.

April 24, 2018 @ 8:32 AM

McNulty

With an incident like this is pays to avoid social media. I made the mistake of reading too many tweets that seemed to blame Kathleen Wynne and Justin Trudeau for this attack. Many tweets were blaming immigration and Islam without any evidence or justification for the claims. People should be supporting the victims and not trying to make this into something it isn’t.

Look at Sue-Ann Levy’s feed. She is calling it Jihad and terror. And this is someone employed by a major news outlet. And she’s attacking John Tory for it. This is what we’ve become.

April 24, 2018 @ 10:18 AM

a waste

Sue-Ann Levy (aka "a waste of space")

April 24, 2018 @ 10:24 AM

Beatts

Hugged the girls extra tight last night and we had a nice conversation over dinner about the world in general.

We can have endless discussions about being prepared and being aware of your surroundings but something like this so senseless comes along and stuns you into silence for a bit.

My heart goes out to those people and their families.

April 24, 2018 @ 10:37 AM

Irv

@Ben V

Interesting comment. I was at the hospital yesterday (Toronto) and I was talking to a couple of people in the "get out of your room and see life" area. We had the same discussion. I introduced me and said what I did for a living and I was talking about social media, how it's a source for misinformation and how I feel it's a major factor in the isolation of humans and in the incubating of extremists.

Mr Robot does a rant in Season 1 called the Kingdom of Bullshit. In it is talks about social media as "controlled little bubbles". He's right. It becomes an echo chamber and those in the chamber believe their opinion is right. Sometimes the hacker in me wonders if the government plays a role in this solely as a means of manipulation of the population. I've had to remove people from my Facebook because I can no longer stand reading their stupid opinions.

And yes, kudo's to the cop. Clearly the suspect wanted to be shot by the police. The cop held it together and maintained control. That is crisis training at it's best.

April 24, 2018 @ 10:47 AM

jj

I am just trying to take in all the info, but it is just horrible. I am glad the cop did not shoot, glad he could recognize in this instance that the man had no weapon. I am also sad for the times other people had no weapon, but were shot anyway - the latter is what strikes me about this incident, among many other striking facts.

April 24, 2018 @ 11:33 AM

Barry

It becomes uneasy when the speculation happens. Many, particularly online, start calling these events terrorist attacks by jihadists, not waiting for the facts to come in. And that has led proper-thinking people to seek to counter such claims; in theory, that would be a good thing, but in practice, the proper-thinking people end up pouncing whenever the perpetrator turns out to be white, or even non-Muslim. In fact, there are many who hear about these events and find themselves hoping the perpetrator is white ... because countering the racists seems to take precedence over the event itself.

It's an unhappy world when people start rooting for one race or another to be responsible for such tragedies. Certainly, the racists are the starters of this hate, but too often, the rest of us fall into the trap of fighting hate with hate.

April 24, 2018 @ 11:43 AM

Beatts

@jj

I would never want to be put in that position, that's for sure. I watched the video countless times KNOWING he was holding a cell phone and still marvel at the policeman's poise and training to not pull the trigger. Police have a split second to make a life and death decision. This was a tactical, and perfectly by the book take down. Amazing.

April 24, 2018 @ 11:47 AM

Beatts

@Barry

We are having some discussions at work today about the media and their description of the event.

The media is saying this isn't a terrorist attack, and although the definition of terrorist implies political or religious implications I still consider this a "terrorist" attack in a sense the person has brought a sense of terror to the families affected.

It was pretty rough scrolling through my facebook news feed last night. Had a few friends who have come off pretty bad with some of the rhetoric spewed....


April 24, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

jj

Beatts - yeah i would never want to be in that position either, his poise and response is to be admired. I stopped following anyone spewing rhetoric after T****, that reminded me of someone else I need to stop following! People are just ugh.

April 24, 2018 @ 12:26 PM

Barry

Facebook has been enlightening, for good and for bad. I'm of the age -- as many here are -- where social media came about long, long after my high school and college days, so I was disconnected from many of my school friends by anywhere from a decade to two or three decades, in some cases. Facebook allowed us to reconnect.

I have been surprised, over the years of being on Facebook, to find how politically aligned I am with people I was friends with in grade school and high school. We never talked about sociopolitical matters back then, so to find myself so in step with them has been rewarding.

But at the same time, there are some friends who have surprised me. You would think that if you hung out with someone for several years in your youth, you'd have had an inkling that they were racist, so I was caught off guard by a couple of people posting vile things.

The temptation is to just get rid of people whose views I disagree with. And certainly, some people have been unfriended. Others, who I disagree with vehemently on political matters, are still on my friends list. For example, there is one grade-school classmate who lives in the US and is a Trump supporter. This is a position I can't fathom, as it is unimaginable to me that any intelligent, decent human being would support Trump. But this particular person -- if I ignore her pro-Trump posts -- actually seems intelligent and quite wonderful. She is very caring, taking care of friends in need, working with fellow cancer survivors, etc. Yet, she supports arguably the most vile person ever to serve as US president. I need to keep people like this in my feed, because as indefensible as their political leaning might be, I need to be reminded that it is possible for someone to be a good human being and have political views that are the polar opposite of mine. I may never understand why she supports such an awful politician, but she serves as a reminder that I can't just assume that anyone who supports that politician is a knuckle-dragging a-hole.

While I might find social media more enjoyable if I filter out opinions that are at odds with mine, I worry about creating one of those bubbles, and, through social media, giving myself a false view of the world. If our social media feed is too strictly curated and filters out the opinions we don't like, we find ourselves sayin "I don't know anyone who voted for that candidate" when someone as awful as Trump -- or, potentially relevant to our interests in Ontario, Doug Ford -- gets strong support and wins an election.

April 24, 2018 @ 12:58 PM

Irv

I read this yesterday on twitter but just saw it in media now. Apparently this guy idolized a guy in California who slaughtered a bunch of women because he was angry at them. Part of something called the Incel movement where males are angry at women for rejecting them. It apparently originated on his actual account which appears to be taken down.

of note, a guy with the same name from North York posted he and his family and friends were being harassed by media. Wow, at least due your due diligence before you go at some guy with the same name. It's barely a step above a bad d0x.

April 24, 2018 @ 12:58 PM

Urooj Islam

I don't mind racism, what I mind is outright rooting for attacks to be committed by people of a certain race, ethnicity or religious background just so you could confirm your delusional worldview.

That's a new level of batshit insanity.

April 24, 2018 @ 1:59 PM

Mike from Lowville

The copycat fools are just delusional but still dangerous. The ones being copied hopefully are dead or near death. Copycats are just waiting in line.

April 24, 2018 @ 4:45 PM

bsmntdwllr73

I grew up less than ten minutes away from where this horrific tragedy occurred. Might be one
of the main reasons I'm feeling so overly-emotional about it. Empathy doesn't always come as
easily to me due to my ASD diagnosis, so an abundance of it can be equally hard to process.
Whatever else any subsequent investigations turn up, this is yet another example of how
under-served the mental health system really is in this city, if not the entire country.

April 24, 2018 @ 5:06 PM

chris

Ken Lam the Toronto Police Officer is a true hero as probably saved lives of possible others.
He kept his cool & was able to diffuse the situation quickly.
A great story on a terrible day.

April 24, 2018 @ 5:33 PM

Irv

Mike from Lowville

Agreed. Society seriously needs to have a discussion about social media and it's impacts on society. I have spent years in forensics and data mining. Last night I left the hospital and took a trip up to the town I grew up as a kid in. As I sat there I was thinking of the past and I thought about life as a kid. I thought about how much society has changed and how fucking angry we are. I see it every day on social media.

And it's never ending. Today I helped a person being "sextorted". Talked her to calling police and now I hope they do something or I fear the worst. This is where we are.

And each time it becomes harder and harder not to strike back hard.

April 24, 2018 @ 5:54 PM

m m

Thank you Irv, my thoughts exactly. Social media does rely a lot on "opposing views" and uninformed hot takes to get clicks and views, and this has ended up with a lot of toxicity. There is a lot to teach the kids about fighting back online.

I knew there would be a lot of gruesome details online coming out. I decided to stay off the TV and social media. I'm not loath to these images, it's just that I have seen it enough in my lifetime, and I choose to not see more than necessary. I'm reading 1-2 items per day on the updates on the investigation and the events. Reading the Wikipedia entry is also a good idea. I do plan to leave a condolence note for the victims. After all this is my city as well, and I walked on that same sidewalk many times.

April 24, 2018 @ 11:26 PM

Irv

@MM

I was online and wired before there was a browser. I can remember when Netscape Beta .9 came out. The internet was just magic. I remember my first online date long before dating sites. My Dad thought I was fucking crazy. The relationship lasted like 3 years.

Now, I feel the opposite. I see the internet as a world that takes away our humanity. Online dating has become window shopping (think Tinder). Opinions are so polarized and angry it's difficult ot grasp. I mean fuck, you can go into a post about some recipe and it will invariable turn into some political shit show. We're all so worried FB is selling our personal data to the Russians. Maybe we should be worried about how it's affecting us as a species.

I met up with a bud for the other night. Aint seen the guy in 2 decades. He's a BC Guy who came home to care for his Mom. He looked at me and said "This whole fucking world is place on meds man". And I realized fuck, he's right.

Fuck earth day. Let's have internet free day. Or at least one where a conversation about curried chicken on the BBQ doesn't turn into a blame game for immigrants and Trudeau.

April 25, 2018 @ 12:35 AM

Irv

For those of you curious about "incel's" and the alleged motivation behind the driver who killed all those people this is a basic & decent read.

https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/2018/04/25/what-is-an-incel/

April 25, 2018 @ 11:40 AM

markosaar

@Irv,

Lol I once met up with a girl from a BBS. It/she was awkward as heckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk.

April 26, 2018 @ 4:09 PM

Irv

@Markosaar

Some of the finest bad dates I ever had came from "meeting her online". In fact you could do a podcast on it. And some of my best friends came about because of online meetings. My online personality in life, I can talk to anyone even in super awkward situations so it helps.

April 26, 2018 @ 5:06 PM

JJ

@ Irv

Internet FreeDay, that is the best thing i have ever heard since 1996 when this whole thing exploded.

April 28, 2018 @ 11:47 AM

Irv

@JJ

I'm not so much against the internet as I am just exhausted from the never ending nastiness that exists online. Whether it's Facebook or the comments in newspapers, even the most innocent subject invariably degrades to a political shit show. You post a recipe on nachos and 30 lines later there are too many Syrian refugees in Canada. Or, my favourite is the CBC posts which slam the CBC ignoring they signed up, read and are posting...on the CBC site.

What I really get sick of is the whole "free speech" argument when it's used as justification for saying nasty things. Yeah, I believe in free speech but it doesn't need to be used to support hate or denigrate some teen girl who posts her photo online and you call her "fat bitch" just because you can.

April 28, 2018 @ 3:18 PM

bsmntdwllr73

I abhor the pejorative term "fat bitch." Body shaming is absolutely horrible, and even more so when
it is perpetrated by women against other women. Absolutely nothing wrong with having curves of any
kind or some extra weight on one's frame (within medical reason of course, but even beyond that it
is completely unacceptable to mock or ridicule on these grounds.) Still seems to be one area in which
it is almost still permissible, in some online circles at least. Society needs to do a better job in promoting different body types, and not just by putting the odd-so called 'plus-sized' model on the
cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition (once!!).

April 29, 2018 @ 3:56 PM

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