- 06/05/18 - World
On Monday 23rd April, Alek Minassian drove a van at full speed into the busy pavement of Yonge Street. He killed 10 and injuried 16. He is not linked in any way, as far as the investigation could tell, to Islamic State - a terrorist organisation which has in the past used the same tactic to kill many on the streets of Nice, London, Barcelona, Berlin, New York City or Stockholm.
Minassian comes from Richmond Hill - just outside Toronto. He went to a special needs school and was described as a ' Not very social person'. Although there has been much speculation, the police are still unsure of Alek's real motive. Some say he was upset about his lack of popularity with girls. Most of his victims were women and he is said to have been part of a club wanting revenge on them.
What was truly remarkable about the attack, is how it ended. After the attack Alek Minassian was spotted getting out of his van by a police officer. He challenged the police officer, telling him he had a gun and wanted him to shoot him. The police officer just very calmly told him to surrender: "I don't care if you shoot. Just get down". Minassian did. The officer had called his bluff and was then greatly praised for being a hero and for showing remarkable restraint and not shooting the killer. In many other cases the terrorists are killed by the police. Minassian, however, was arrested instead and will face justice in a court of law.
Canada had, until then, not seen the types of attacks that have plagued Europe and the U.S.A. As a result, many observers felt Canadians would be completely unprepared to handle such an event. They were wrong. Instead of panic there was calm. Within a relatively short period of time the city soon returned to normal. Toronto's reaction does not downplay the attack or the victims. But Canada's citizens have lived through numerous global attacks via social media and so were more prepared than anyone anticipated, and reacted with great professionalism. They delivered a great lesson in counter-terror response for the world.