Is Toronto a terrible place to live

Canada: Investigators assume a deliberate act in Toronto

In the middle of a lively business district in Toronto, a 25-year-old ran over pedestrians with a rental car, killing ten people. 15 more were injured during the nearly three-kilometer zigzag drive over sidewalks, as police chief Mark Saunders said. At least four of them are in mortal danger. The driver was arrested, there were no other suspects, according to the police.

The authorities initially did not provide any information on the motives or a possible terrorist background. Everything looks like a deliberate act, will be investigated in all directions, Saunders said on Tuesday night.

The previously applicable medium terror warning level in the Canadian city, where the foreign ministers of the G7 countries had met until Monday, will remain unchanged, said Ralph Goodale, Minister for Public Security. There is no evidence of an increased risk of terrorism. The broadcasters NBC and CTV reported, citing law enforcement officers and security circles, that the perpetrator was probably mentally confused.

Terrible crime in #Toronto - the city that has hosted us so frankly. We are deeply hit and stand by our Canadian friends. Our condolences go out to the families of the victims. https://t.co/UnuaZxnahk

- Heiko Maas (@HeikoMaas) April 23, 2018

"Our hearts go out to all who are affected," said Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He thanked the first responders on Twitter. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who was there for the G7 meeting, described the incident as a "terrible crime". US government spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders also gave her condolences. The United States is on the side of the Canadian people, she said.

Drive at 60 kilometers per hour

The crime occurred in the North York borough about 30 minutes north of downtown. At 60 to 70 kilometers per hour, the white delivery truck caught pedestrians as it drove from the street to the sidewalk at lunchtime and switched between street and sidewalk over about 15 blocks. The perpetrator drove in a serpentine line, eyewitness Amir Bahmeyeh said Toronto Star. He watched the car hit five or six people. "I saw an old man fly through the air," said Bahmeyeh. The people yelled for help and tried to guide the police in the direction of the driver.

Michele Kelman, who works for an IT company in the area, was nearly struck by the car on the way back from lunch. She and her friend heard screams behind them and saw objects whirling through the air, she said Globe and Mail. The car raced towards her and then fatally hit her friend. "There were bodies everywhere," Kelman said.

According to information from the TV station CTV, the driver is 25-year-old Alek M. The police had not known him until then. His car came to a stop on the sidewalk with the bonnet completely torn before the police surrounded him. An eyewitness video shows the driver pointing an object in the direction of a police officer and saying "Kill me!" as well as "Shoot me in the head!" calls. There was no exchange of fire before his arrest.

"So many lives destroyed"

"He destroyed the lives of so many people," said eyewitness Alex Shaker to the broadcaster CTV. "Anything that came in his way." Also someone with a stroller was hit by the car. Shortly after the shock, eyewitnesses tried to help injured victims.

Toronto Mayor John Tory encouraged the citizens. "The city is in safe hands right now," said Tory. He asked local residents to go home and keep calm. "It's a time when we should be as calm as possible." The police cordoned off the area, and subway traffic was also interrupted. A hotline for relatives of victims will be set up. In a statement earlier, Tory had spoken of a "very tragic incident" and offered the police any help the city could provide with the investigation.

There had been several vehicle attacks in Canada. In Edmonton, west of the country, an attacker attacked a police officer with a knife in September and then rammed four people with a rented van. In 2014, a man in Qu├ębec crashed into two soldiers, one of whom was killed.