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T&T nationals safe after Toronto rampage

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
A woman fights back tears at a memorial along Yonge Street in Toronto, yesterday a day after a driver drove a van down sidewalks, striking and killing numerous pedestrians in his path. PICTURE AP

T&T’s Toronto consulate and the homes of two T&T staffers were close to the scene of Monday’s “van attack” by a young Toronto man - but no T&T national was injured, Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses said yesterday.

Moses was asked by reporters in Parliament about the attack which left 10 people dead and 13 others injured.

A driver Alek Minassian, 25, or Richmond Hill, Ontario ploughed a van at high speed into pedestrians in downtown Toronto - on the Yonge Street area. He was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Minassian made a brief appearance in a packed courtroom to learn the charges filed against him. Clad in a white jumpsuit, he looked around and said little other than his name before charges were announced.

His next court appearance is currently slated for May 10. When asked if he had a statement to offer to the victims’ families, the man simply replied: “I’m sorry.”

Moses said there are no reports of any T&T national killed or injured in the situation.

“However, there are one or two T&T consulate staff members who live in the area (where the incident occurred) and the intersection there was blocked off. However, there’s no direct effect on our staff members,” he said.

He said the van attack ended up about one mile from where the T&T consulate is located, but the office and staff were safe.

On driver Minassian’s motive, Canadian media reported his last Facebook post hailed an “Incel rebellion” and overthrow attractive men and women perceived as unavailable to involuntary celibates. The term

“Incel” (involuntary celibate) was said to refer to a now-banned group on an internet message site where young men discussed their lack of sexual activity and attractiveness to women, often blaming women for the problem.

Up to late yesterday the identity of only one of the 10 victims was released, that of Anne Marie D’Amico, an employee of US-based investment management firm Invesco Canada.

The identities of the other fatalities remain unknown, but South Korean officials have confirmed that the country lost two citizens in the attack, and a Jordanian citizen is also among the dead.

Seneca College has also confirmed that it lost an as-yet-unnamed female student in the attack.

Candles and flowers piled up along the stretch of Yonge Street where the suspect drove a rented van down sidewalks Monday, striking pedestrians in his path.

Little is known about Minassian but the Canadian Armed Forces said he served a very brief stint from late August to late October 2017.

“He did not complete his recruit training and requested to be voluntarily released from the CAF after 16 days of recruit training,” spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande said in a statement, declining to provide further details.

(See Page A17)


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