What we know about Alek Minassian, man charged in deadly Toronto van attack

Alek Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder in Monday’s van attack on a busy stretch along Yonge Street. He...

Alek Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder in Monday’s van attack on a busy stretch along Yonge Street.

He made a court appearance Tuesday in North York, a north Toronto neighbourhood where the attack took place.

Here’s what we know about the 25-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., a municipality north of Toronto.

He has an online presence

A profile on social networking site LinkedIn identifies Minassian as attending Seneca College in suburban North York from 2011-2018.  Neighbours told CBC News that he lived with his father.

Police are seen near a damaged van believed to be the vehicle that crashed into a number of pedestrians on busy Yonge Street in the north of the city/ (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press)

 

Speculation surfaced Monday night around a Facebook post associated with the same name and photo as appear on Minassian’s LinkendIn site.

Facebook told CBC News that the post from an Alek Minassian was real and was posted publicly on his profile before Facebook shut it down.

The post referred to the “Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger.” Rodger was the 22-year-old California man responsible for a deadly rampage in Isla Vista, Calif., that left six people dead and a dozen people wounded.

In a video posted ahead of that 2014 attack, Rodger raged about a number of women turning down his advances, rendering men like him “incels,” a term used by some groups to mean “involuntarily celibate.”

 

The suspect in the Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday is a 25-year-old man named Alek Minassian from the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill. (Alek Minassian/LinkedIn)

Rodger referred to men who were successful with women as “Chads” and women who turned men down as “Stacys.”

The post that appeared on Minassian’s Facebook page included a line that said the “incel rebellion has already begun. We will overthrow all the Chads and the Stacys.”

“This is a terrible tragedy, and our hearts go out to the people who have been affected,” Facebook said in a statement. “There is absolutely no place on our platform for people who commit such horrendous acts.”

The social networking site said it identified Minassian’s account after the attack and immediately deleted it.

Facebook said it uses a combination of technology and reports from its members to remove content that violates its community standards.

‘He wasn’t overly social’

Ari Blaff told CBC News that he went to Thornlea Secondary School with Minassian in Thornhill, north of Toronto. The two had a computer science class together in Grade 10 and both graduated in 2011, he said.

“I’m not sure if he had any very, very close friends, at least publicly,” Blaff said. “I never saw him with a group of friends, generally. But whenever we would see him in the hallways, we’d always speak to him or say hi to him or whatnot.”

Minassian is shown in a 2011 yearbook photo from Thornlea Secondary School in Thornhill north of Toronto. (Ari Blaff)

 

Blaff said Minassian didn’t seem to have a core group of friends and remembers  him being mostly “sort of in the background” rather than at the centre of a social group.

“I remember seeing him probably just walking down the halls, usually by himself, or in the cafeteria by himself,” he said. “My memory is not perfect, but certainly, it would not be, I don’t think, a misstatement to say that he wasn’t overly social.

Bystander video shows police confrontation

Cellphone video posted to social media on Monday afternoon seemed to show the moments police apprehended the driver of the van on a side street at the southern end of the roughly 2 km stretch of Yonge St. the van had careened down.

The video shows a man stepping out of a white van with a damaged front end that is stopped on the sidewalk. He steps into the line of fire a police officer who has his weapon drawn and can be heard yelling, “Kill me” and gesturing at the officer to shoot him.

“Kill me,” the man can be heard yelling as Toronto police arrested him 1:29

Saunders said Monday night that no gun was found on the male driver at the time of his arrest. He said Minassian was not previously known to Toronto police.

The driver was apprehended about 25 minutes after the van first began driving southbound down Yonge Street, the police chief said. The vehicle was at times travelling along the sidewalk and at other times against traffic in the northbound lanes of the busy street, a major artery in Toronto.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story erroneously named Alek Minassian’s former high school classmate as Ari Bluff. In fact, his name is Ari Blaff.
    Apr 24, 2018 11:24 AM ET

 

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Consulting Analyst at Computer Crime Research Center. Engineering Electronics and Telecommunications. Seminar Analysis of Violent Crime University of Rome.
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