Toronto Motorist Charged with 10 Counts of 1st Degree Murder

A motorist suspected of killing 10 people and injuring 15 others by driving a van down a sidewalk in Toronto was charged in court Tuesday with 10 counts of first degree murder and multiple counts of attempted murder.

The charges came during the first court appearance of suspect Alek Minassian, who was standing in a white prison jumpsuit with his head down and his arms behind his back.

Canadian police have been looking for a motive behind Monday’s attack, the worst massing killing in Canada in decades and what Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said “definitely looked deliberate.”

The 25-year-old Minassian, from the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, was not known previously to police and was described on a social media profile as a college student.

The attack had the characteristics of other deadly vehicle assaults by Islamic State sympathizers in the United States and Europe, but

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed the possibility of terrorism.

“At this time we have no reason to suspect that there is any national security element to this attack,” he said.

He also expressed condolences to the victims and their families, echoing comments made Monday.

The incident took place as Cabinet members from seven of the world’s advanced economies met in Canada to discuss issues ahead of a summit near Quebec City in June.

Trudeau said security for the Group of Seven meeting will be “comprehensive.”

“We will continue to make sure that both participants, residents, and all citizens are safe during the G7 and during any event during that time,” he added.

Witnesses describing the scene said the van struck person after person with the driver seeming to make no effort to stop. Minassian was taken into custody a short time later “without incident,” according to police.

On behalf of U.S. President Donald Trump, the State Department posted a tweet from the president expressing sympathy.

“I want to express our deepest sympathies to the Canadian people following the horrendous tragedy in #Toronto that claimed so many innocents lives. Our hearts are with the grieving families in #Canada.”