TORONTO (Reuters) – The driver accused of plowing a rental van into pedestrians in Toronto was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder on Tuesday, but his motive remained a mystery.
Alek Minassian, 25, appeared in a Toronto courtroom Tuesday morning where prosecutors charged him in the death of 10 pedestrians and injury of 15 others in the lunchtime attack that saw him drive a Ryder van for about two kilometers along a crowded sidewalk starting at Yonge Street and Finch Avenue.
Minassian kept his shaved head down during the hearing, speaking quietly with a defense lawyer and stated his name in a steady voice when asked to do so.
Minassian, who was not previously known to authorities, attended a high school program where one classmate remembered him as “absolutely harmless.”
The suspect’s two-story red-brick home in a suburb north of Toronto was a crime scene Tuesday, taped off and surrounded by police vehicles. Officers went in and out of the house.
The officer who apprehended Minassian was praised for making a peaceful arrest even as the suspect shouted “Kill me” and claimed to have a gun.