Another Use of Motor Vehicle as a Weapon Leaves 10 Dead, 16 Injured in Toronto

A van driver apparently deliberately mowed down pedestrians on sidewalks and intersections in the North York area of Toronto on Monday. The suspect is in custody. The incident is reminiscent of a similar scene last May in Times Square, Manhattan.
April 24, 2018, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"Authorities have not said publicly if the vehicle collisions were intentional," report Eric Levenson and Julia Jones for CNN on April 23. "But a law enforcement official briefed on the situation in Toronto told CNN the incident is believed to be deliberate."

The incident happened in the North York area of North America's fourth-largest city, specifically along a one-mile stretch of Yonge Street sidewalks and intersections, a busy thoroughfare. According to an eyewitness, the rented white Ryder van was going 60 to 70 kph (37 to 44 mph).

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said early Monday afternoon that he was just learning about the incident. "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.

"At a press conference, Canada’s public safety minister Ralph Goodale offered no more details, but confirmed that the investigation was still being led by Toronto police," reports The Guardian. "In Canada, any national security-related cases are handled by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the country’s federal police force."

That suggests that the incident would not, at this time, be viewed as an act of terrorism.

"The suspected attacker has been apprehended and is in custody but police are yet to establish a motive for the incident, Toronto police spokesperson Gary Long said," reports Sebastian Kettley for Express.

Reports were that a white van mounted the curb, drove down the sidewalk at southbound Yonge, south of Finch, and struck eight to 10 people possibly, the numbers aren't confirmed yet.

The incident is reminiscent of a deliberate vehicular sidewalk attack in Times Square, New York, last May. In that case, the driver was under the influence of drugs and also appeared to have psychological problems. What stopped him after driving three down sidewalks on three blocks of Seventh Avenue was a bollard. In 2006, a similar-type of incident occurred in Fremont and San Francisco.

A more recent fatal vehicular attack that was determined to be terrorism occurred on Halloween last year on the Hudson River Bikeway in lower Manhattan. Blurring the distinction between non-terrorist bicyclist and pedestrian crashes, a cyclist was killed 10 years earlier when an intoxicated motorist illegally entered the bikeway.

When a motorist jumps the curb, placing pedestrians at risk, or enters an exclusive bikeway, it doesn't matter to the victims if it is considered an act of terrorism or not.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans last January to spend $50 million to install 1,500 bicycle and pedestrian-protecting bollards around the city. 

Update: The Sun reports that 10 victims of the vehicular attack died and that the van had been traveling as fast as 70 mph.

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Published on Monday, April 23, 2018 in CNN
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