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Toronto Police Say Suspect In Van Attack Not Associated With Any Terrorist Group


We're learning new information tonight about the driver who authorities say plowed into pedestrians on a busy stretch of Toronto sidewalk this afternoon. At an evening press conference, Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters the death toll has climbed to 10 people. Fifteen remain in area hospitals with injuries. Officials identified the driver as Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old student at Seneca College. Police are in his home conducting an investigation. They say the suspect is not associated with any organized terrorist group. Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters that this incident does not reflect the people of Toronto.


JOHN TORY: I will just say to people that I hope that they will understand, as I know they do. People who live in this city, who have come to this city from around the world, this is not - this kind of tragic incident is not representative of how we live or who we are or anything to do with life in this city on a day-to-day basis.

And that I hope people will reflect on that, will reaffirm that, will go to work tomorrow and perhaps offer, as sometimes is the case in churches, a sign of peace to each other just in some small way to acknowledge that we're going to carry on with heavy hearts, but that we're going to carry on with a life that is admired around the world. And that we will do that in the way that Torontonians do things.

SHAPIRO: Chief Saunders said the actions appear to have been deliberate. He said Toronto police had no prior run-ins with the suspect.


CHIEF MARK SAUNDERS: And at this particular point in time there's nothing that does affect the national security footprint. We are looking very strongly to what the exact motive or motivation was for this particular incident to take place. And at the end of the day, we will have a fulsome answer. And we'll have a fulsome account as to what the conclusion of this is.

SHAPIRO: Authorities are still piecing together what happened. They say the area will remain an active investigation scene tomorrow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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