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Toronto suspect Van Rampage is accused of murder

TORONTO – The 25-year-old truck driver who rushed down the sidewalk of a busy Toronto street in a deadly attack was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday and 13 counts of attempted murder. [19659002] The charges, announced at a Toronto court hearing by the suspect, Alek Minassian, came a day after the attack, which appears to have been the deadliest deliberate vehicular assault in modern Canadian history.

Mr. Minassian, a resident of the Richmond Hill suburb of Toronto, was identified by police as the motorist who vandalized a peaceful Monday afternoon in Toronto by driving a white Ryder truck down Yonge Street, one of the main thoroughfares, and plowing pedestrians to along almost a mile stretch. At least 10 people died and 15 were injured.

He stopped the truck on a sidewalk after the murders and surrendered to the police after a tense confrontation in which he claimed to be armed and challenged the officers to shoot him in the head. 19659005] Mr. Minassian's motive for the uproar is unclear.

Scott Bardsley, spokesman for Ralph Goodale, the minister of public security, said the minister had concluded that the killings "were not related to national security" after discussions with several security officers, including the head of the Security Service. Canadian Security Intelligence, the main espionage agency.

Still, the killings raised fears about Toronto's vulnerability to a terrorist attack. The loitering van evoked memories of the deadly car murders carried out by extremists in several western cities in recent years, including New York, London, Stockholm, Berlin, Barcelona and Nice, France.

At his court hearing on Tuesday, he asked for the judge, Stephen Weisberg, if he understood the terms of a court order not to contact any survivors, Mr. Minassian answered loud and clear: "Yes."

He wore a white jumpsuit with his hands handcuffed behind his back. Seven uniformed policemen surrounded him in the courtroom.

Mr. Minassian was represented at the hearing by a lawyer appointed by the court with whom he had a prolonged and whispered conversation from a prisoner box.

Arrested without bail.

A man who appeared to be Mr. Minassian's father attended. the audience, but did not offer any comments to the journalists, apart from saying that he had not spoken to him.

Witnesses and amateur videos that captured the uproar and arrest of the suspect showed a horrific scene that traumatized Toronto, a Canadian metropolis.

David Alce, a 53-year-old network engineer, was waiting at a traffic light on Yonge Street and Finch Avenue on his way to the park to enjoy a sunny day when he saw a white van crossing the intersection.

Around 1:20 p.m., Mr. Alce said, his initial disbelief turned into shock and then horror as the speed van cut through the intersection, climbed onto the sidewalk and began to divert and cut people off.

Mr. Alce saw that the driver rammed four people, he said, and then another four. A woman was thrown several feet in the air. A man was hit in the middle part before falling. Another was crushed in the head. The truck roared.

"At first, I thought the driver was having a heart attack before I realized what was happening," said Alce.

"I looked at the car for two blocks". he said. "I did not see the driver's face." There was a loud bang when he got to the sidewalk, there was confusion, some people attended to the injured, others were on their cell phones, a woman sobbing inconsolably in the corner "

Mr. Alce, meanwhile, went to see if he could help, turning over some of the victims to see if they were alive and administering CPR.

Mr. Alce, a native of Ottawa, said he moved to Toronto about 20 years ago, attracted by the peaceful atmosphere of the city and the lack of crime. He said that the attack had destroyed the innocence of a multicultural and humanistic city.

"This is the first time I've seen something so horrible," he said. "It's a loss of innocence, Toronto is peaceful, that's why I love it here."

Other Torontonians, still in shock, insisted that the city would recover quickly. On Tuesday morning, travelers on their way to work leaned over newspapers. "Carnage in Toronto," said the headline of The Globe and Mail.

While supporters continued to gather at a makeshift memorial near the scene of the attack, the hazardous materials cleaning teams with respirators and jump suits were using dust Absorbent to remove blood stains from the sidewalk.

Nancy Brooks, 56, who works in human resources for the Ontario government, often touches the area where the episode occurred. She said that Canada, which prides itself on diversity and a spirit of tolerance, was particularly discordant.

"This is not something that happens here," he said. "We always think we're isolated from this kind of thing, we like to think we're like Switzerland."

Rick Gladstone contributed reports from New York.

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