Toronto van attack suspect charged with 10 counts of murder

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Toronto, April 25 (IANS) The man accused of driving a van to attack pedestrians in Toronto was charged on Tuesday with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

The 25-year-old suspect, Alek Minassian, plowing a rented van into pedestrians on a crowded Toronto sidewalk on Monday, killed 10 people, injuring 15 others in Canada’s deadliest mass killings in decades, Xinhua reported.

Minassian made a brief court appearance in a Toronto courtroom Tuesday to hear the charges against him. He appeared to understand what was happening and spoke softly to the duty counsel lawyer representing him. His next court appearance is currently slated for May 10.

He was not known to them before this incident and had no previous criminal record, according to Toronto police.

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Minassian was a student at Seneca College in Toronto, enrolled between 2011 and 2018. He is also listed as a research assistant in a software development project on a Seneca website.

Minassian was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces for two months in late August and October 2017. He underwent a basic training but did not perform well and failed to complete the training because he requested to be released after 16 days.

His neighbours describe him as quiet, with one neighbour saying he seemed “a bit odd,” and shook his hands about while walking.

A neighbour of his told CTV News that his daughter had gone to the same high school as Minassian and said that he had had problems and needed “a special teacher.”

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Minutes before the attack began, a post was made to Minassian’s now-deleted Facebook page that read, in part, “the Incel rebellion has already begun!”

The term “Incels” refers to a group of “men’s rights activists” who are “involuntarily celibate” and who commiserate together about their lack of sexual activity.

The post also praised Elliot Rodger, a self-confessed virgin who killed six people and injured 14 others before shooting himself to death near the campus of US University of California, Santa Barbara in 2014.

–IANS

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