Van driver arrested after striking multiple pedestrians in Toronto (Update: 9 dead...Suspect named...Mental illness?)

A white rental van plowed into a crowd of pedestrians in Toronto, Canada a short time ago, hitting as many as ten people. The driver of the van drove off but was confronted by police a short time later. He pulled out what appeared to be a gun but officers did not fire on him. He has been arrested. Authorities haven’t released anything else about the suspect or his possible motive so far but this certainly seems reminiscent of the attack in New York last year which also utilized a rental truck.

Here, from Sky News, is the scene where the attack took place. If you stick with this clip, there’s an eyewitness who was in one of the buildings overlooking the scene who says the van seemed to be hitting pedestrians deliberately.

Sky News also has this eyewitness report:

Diego Dematos was driving on Yonge street in the opposite direction to the van and witnessed the vehicle collide with pedestrians.

“We saw the last few people get hit that’s when we were driving north on Yonge Street which is one of the busiest streets in Toronto. I’m still a little bit shaken so sorry if I don’t speak properly.

“We actually saw when the van hit the last few people that were on the sidewalk. We thought it was just a hit and run. He kept driving… all I could see was dead bodies on the floor…

“For sure a lot of them had really bad injuries and two or three I can’t confirm if they were dead on the side of the road”.

Another eyewitness was badly shaken up after witnessing the attack. “This is some serious terrorism stuff right here that he did.”

Some images from the aftermath:

There is some gruesome video of the aftermath of this attack on the street. I won’t post it because not everyone wants to see that sort of thing but here’s a link. As for the driver, he got out of the van and pointed something at police. Here’s a video showing the standoff from above:

Here’s how that looked from the ground:

Incredibly, he wasn’t shot but was taken to the ground and arrested. Here’s another video showing him being searched near a police car:

I’ll update this post as more information becomes available.

Here’s an update on the injuries:

Update: First confirmation this is what it looks like:

This is coming from “sources” not directly from authorities so far. Sometimes early reports are wrong so take it with at least a small grain of salt.

Update: Authorities in Canada are still saying it’s too soon to say:

Update: The Toronto Star is reporting at least 4 dead:

Update: Toronto police are giving a press conference. They just announced that 9 people are dead and 16 were injured. The announcement of the death toll comes at 6:30 in this clip:

Update: The suspect has been named as Alek Minassian:

According to at least on NBC reporter, the leading theory now is not terrorism but mental illness: