NINE dead after rental van plows into ten pedestrians in Toronto

April 23rd, 20188:57 pm @

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Nine people are dead and 16 are injured after a white rental van mowed down pedestrians in Toronto on Monday.

Witnesses say the van mounted the curb on Yonge St. near Finch Ave, Toronto, at just before 1.30pm on Monday afternoon. 

The acting Toronto police chief confirmed that nine had been killed and that the suspect was in custody after the tragedy. 

He would not confirm if the incident was a deliberate attack, but witnesses say the driver seemed to be targeting pedestrians.

‘This person was intentionally doing this, he was killing everybody,’ a witness at the scene, who only gave his name as Ali, said. ‘He kept going, he kept going. People were getting hit, one after another.’

He added that many of the victims had been elderly while he saw a stroller fly into the air. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre confirmed it has received seven patients from the scene in its Trauma Centre. 

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An injured pedestrian is transferred to a gurney by first responders after a van hit at least eight people in Toronto 

A white van has mowed down at least eight pedestrians in Canada , police say. Pictured, first responders treat some of the injured at the scene

A white van has mowed down at least eight pedestrians in Canada , police say. Pictured, first responders treat some of the injured at the scene

A police officer stands next to a victim of an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs 

A police officer stands next to a victim of an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto’s northern suburbs 

A body lies covered on the sidewalk in Toronto after the van mounted a sidewalk crashing into a number of pedestrians on Monday

A body lies covered on the sidewalk in Toronto after the van mounted a sidewalk crashing into a number of pedestrians on Monday

Police inspect a van suspected of being involved in a collision injuring at least eight people at Yonge St. and Finch Ave

Police inspect a van suspected of being involved in a collision injuring at least eight people at Yonge St. and Finch Ave

The van fled the scene after striking the pedestrians. Cops were able to stop the driver a few blocks away

The van fled the scene after striking the pedestrians. Cops were able to stop the driver a few blocks away

The rental van fled the scene after striking the pedestrians. Cops were able to stop the driver a few blocks away. 

Footage from the scene showed the suspect pointing what appeared to be a gun at police before he was ordered to drop, and was arrested. He was taken into custody a few yards from a large white Ryder van which has serious damage to the front of the vehicle.

Another man, who appeared to have damage to his car, has also been arrested on Yonge St. although it’s unclear if he’s tied to the initial incident. 

Witnesses were shocked by the bloody scene in front of them.

‘It was just so many bodies,’ said Carol Roberts, who said she saw ‘a lot of people lying lifeless on the ground.’

A reporter at the scene described a gory scene of bodies strewn ‘all over Yonge St.’

The driver responsible for the incident was arrested (pictured) a few blocks away after the crash

The driver responsible for the incident was arrested (pictured) a few blocks away after the crash

The suspect has not yet been identified but has been taken into custody

The suspect has not yet been identified but has been taken into custody

‘Some have been pronounced dead on scene,’ Global News journalist, Jeremy Cohn, added.

‘I’ve now walked up Yonge St from north of Sheppard to Finch. I have passed multiple dead bodies covered up, shoes and debris in the road. Witnesses tell me the white van appeared completely out of control.’

Ali Shaker, who witnessed the incident, said the driver – whose name has not yet been released – appeared to be deliberately running down the pedestrians.

‘He started going down on the sidewalk and crumbling down people one by one,’ Shaker told CTV News Channel, adding that one victim had a stroller.

‘He just destroyed so many people’s lives,’ he said. ‘Every single thing that got in his way.’

Another witness said he saw at least five or six people being resuscitated by bystanders and paramedics. He estimated the driver was going around 70km an hour.

A Toronto police spokesman told the Toronto Sun it was too soon to determine motive.

‘At this point it’s too early to tell what if any motive there was. We are also unable right now to tell the extent or the number of persons injured’.

Another witness Jamie Eopni told CP24 that the van driver ‘didn’t really look like he cared where he was going or what he was doing.’

‘It was crashing into everything. It destroyed a bench. If anybody was on that street they would have been hit on the sidewalk,’ Eopni said. ‘You could see exactly where he drove because of the tire marks. (He was) just crashing into the poles, scraping along.’ 

TV helicopter pics of the hit and run shows an entire bus load of paramedics arriving at the scene in Toronto, Canada 

TV helicopter pics of the hit and run shows an entire bus load of paramedics arriving at the scene in Toronto, Canada 

Toronto Police are at the scene and have shut down the street as first responders treat some of the injured on the sidewalk

Toronto Police are at the scene and have shut down the street as first responders treat some of the injured on the sidewalk

The extent of the injuries isn¿t confirmed after the van struck up to ten people on Yonge St. near Finch Ave, Toronto

The extent of the injuries isn’t confirmed after the van struck up to ten people on Yonge St. near Finch Ave, Toronto

A multi-casualty incident has been declared and officials are asking people to avoid the area

A multi-casualty incident has been declared and officials are asking people to avoid the area

Emergency vehicles blocked off the street and officials are asking people to avoid the area

Emergency vehicles blocked off the street and officials are asking people to avoid the area

The van was heading southbound on Yonge St. when it jumped the curb, hitting the group of pedestrians on the sidewalk, the Toronto Sun reports.

A waiter at a local cafe said one of the victims appeared to be a girl in serious condition. 

A multi-casualty incident has been declared and officials are asking people to avoid the area. Surrounding subway stations have been closed. 

Toronto Police are at the scene and have shut down the street as first responders treat some of the injured on the sidewalk, which shows blood stains from the impact.

The extent of the injuries isn't confirmed after the van struck up to ten people on Yonge St. near Finch Ave, Toronto (pictured) 

The extent of the injuries isn’t confirmed after the van struck up to ten people on Yonge St. near Finch Ave, Toronto (pictured) 

Cops blocked off the street with police tape after the horrific crash

Cops blocked off the street with police tape after the horrific crash

Reports indicate the van was a rental truck from Ryder – a truck rental and supply firm.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau passed along his thoughts, from the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.

‘Our thoughts are obviously with those affected by this incident,’ he said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory added that he was on his way to the scene and it was a ‘very tragic incident.’

‘My thoughts are with those affected by this incident and the frontline responders who are working to help those injured,’ Tory’s statement read. 

The United States and Europe have seen a string of deadly attacks in which vehicles were used to mow down pedestrians, including an Oct. 31 attack in New York that killed eight.

At least one person was struck outside on the sidewalk outside an Anglican church, about 0.9 miles north of where the van came to rest in front of a currency exchange in a condominium tower.

Buildings and workplaces in the area where the van struck pedestrians in Toronto were locked down, and a nearby subway station was closed and service suspended.

 

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