A white Ryder van jumped the curb at a busy Toronto intersection, striking 8-10 pedestrians and leaving several injured and some killed.
The extent of the injuries is not yet certain, but paramedics have rushed to the scene and subway service at the popular Yonge-Finch station has been shut down for the time being.
One fatality has since been confirmed, but witnesses have claimed to see four bodies lying covered on the ground. Other witnesses have claimed to see several fatalities, some victims receiving CPR, and others covered in pools of blood on the crosswalk.
According to an eyewitness, the first victim was hit while walking across the intersection. Other victims were then run down by the truck consecutively, a witness said, “he hit everybody on the sidewalk.”
Video footage from the scene reveals that when cornered by police, the offender appears to wield a weapon against the police officers, what may be a gun but is difficult to be certain of given the poor video grainage, in a threatening manner. When approached by a police officer, he drops the item and is handcuffed by the police.
The driver of the van has since been found and arrested, though the Toronto Police have yet to share details about the identity or charges of the offender. Many have been quick to jump to define terrorism as the cause of this senseless act of violence, According to reporter Natasha Fatah, a “witness to truck ramming into pedestrians tells local Toronto TV station that the driver looked wide-eyed, angry and Middle Eastern.” Though Toronto Police have yet to corroborate any of these reports, the early information appears to suggest that this was not an accidental incident.
According to a witness to the incident, the vehicle appeared “in control” while the truck was driving down Yonge street. Another witness said the vehicle appeared to be going 60-80 km an hour. Given the precedent of vehicles being used as weapons of war for ISIS and their affiliates, this would not be a unique incident.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been briefed on the incident and expressed his condolences: “Our hearts go out to anyone affected. We’re obviously going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours,” he said.
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