Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders (right) is joined by Toronto Mayor John Tory as he addresses journalists gathered at Police Headquarters in Toronto on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, the day after a driver drove a rented van down sidewalks Monday afternoon, striking pedestrians in his path (Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Police expect to lay more charges in Toronto van attack

The man suspected of ramming a rental van into crowds of pedestrians along a busy street in Toronto was charged Tuesday with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

However, Toronto police told reporters Tuesday afternoon that Alek Minassian is expected to be charged with a 14th count of attempted murder.

Earlier in the day Minassian made a brief appearance at a Toronto court and has been remanded to custody. His next hearing has been scheduled for May 10. Minassian, who was wearing white prison jumpsuit during his appearance, does not yet have a lawyer and was represented by a court-appointed council.

The 25-year-old was arrested on Monday seven minutes after police received the first 911 call about a vehicle that had mounted a sidewalk and mowed down pedestrians in the busy suburb of North York, killing at least 10 and injuring 14. Originally police had reported 15 injuries, but at Tuesday’s press conference they said there were in fact 14 people injured in the attack.

Speaking to reporters early Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there is no evidence to suggest the attack was connected to terrorism.

“The events that took place yesterday in Toronto were a senseless attack and a horrific tragedy,” Trudeau said on Tuesday.

He also praised the Toronto police officer who arrested Minassian without firing a single shot. The video of the confrontation between Minassian and Const. Ken Lam has gone viral, with many experts praising the officer for his professionalism.

“I speak for every one of us in thanking the first responders at the scene,” he said. “They faced danger without a moment of hesitation and there is no doubt that their courage saved lives and prevented further injuries.”

Cryptic Facebook message

Toronto police Det.-Sgt. Graham Gibson told reporters that under Canadian law he could not discuss the possible motive for the attack but confirmed that the suspect posted a cryptic message on Facebook.

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 the 2014 attack, Rodger raged about being turned down by women, turning him into an “incel,” or an “involuntarily celibate.”

The “incel rebellion has already begun,” Minassian is alleged to have posted on his Facebook page that has been pulled down.

A LinkedIn profile for a man of the same name as Minassian states he has been a student at Toronto’s Seneca College from 2011-2018.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan also confirmed that Minassian had briefly enlisted with the Canadian Armed Forces but withdrew after 16 days.

Official identification would take days

Police take photos around a covered body in Toronto after a van mounted a sidewalk crashing into a number of pedestrians on Monday, April 23, 2018. (Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Dr. Dirk Huyer, Chief Coroner of Ontario, said officials have not confirmed any of the identities of victims and the official identification could take several days.

Some families have been told that officials “believe” their loved one has died.

“We fully recognize and sympathize with the families . . . desperate to know the true identities of those who have died,” said Huyer,

Huyer said authorities will be using scientific identification methods such as dental records, fingerprints and even DNA tests to exclude any possibility of errors.

“People look different when they are deceased, injuries occur,” Huyer told reporters.

Victims mourned

A woman writes a note at a memorial on Yonge Street the day after a driver drove a rented van down sidewalks Monday afternoon, striking pedestrians in his path in Toronto, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. (Galit Rodan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Gibson said the victims were age from their 20s to 80s. Their injuries ranged from simple scrapes and bruises to horrific injuries. Some people have already left the hospital, Gibson said.

He would not confirm reports by witnesses that the driver seemed to specifically target women and seemed to avoid men as he drove down the busy sidewalk.

CBC News identified one of the 10 people killed in the van attack as Anne Marie D’Amico.

The South Korean government said on its official Facebook site that two of its nationals were killed, and another was injured, the Toronto Star reported.

The Jordanian embassy in Ottawa also reported that one of its citizens was among the fatalities.

The incident took place on Monday afternoon at the busy intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue.

People wipe their tears at a memorial on Yonge Street the day after a driver drove a rented van down sidewalks Monday afternoon, striking pedestrians in his path in Toronto, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. (Galit Rodan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Residents have set up a makeshift memorial along Yonge Street, where people have been leaving flowers and candles and writing messages of support and condolence on large pieces of cardboard.

The House of Commons held a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the attack.

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