According to Canadian authorities, a white van struck a group of pedestrians in Toronto on Monday afternoon. Local law enforcement authorities say that the incident took place at the intersection of Finch Avenue and Yonge Street.
Gary Long, a spokesperson for the Toronto police, told Canadian news network Global News that the truck reportedly hit multiple pedestrians. "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," he said. According to Long, the suspect is in custody.
According to CNN, the district head of Toronto Fire Stephen Powell said that there had been "multiple" casualties. A local witness, Nick Sanka, told reporter Jamie Mauracher of Global News that he saw the suspect plow into the pedestrians on the sidewalk. The witness said that the driver seemed to "in control" and deliberate in his movement. On Twitter, Mauracher shared a video of Sanka sharing his account of the incident.
"I was studying and I witnessed a truck flash by from that building. Apparently, he was going from Yonge and Finch," Sanka told Mauracher. He added that the people around him screamed as soon as they saw the vehicle hit the pedestrians. He "definitely" seemed to be "in control," according to Sanka. It was "as if he was aiming," he said.
ABC13 reported that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement on the truck incident and said that he was "just learning about the situation in Toronto, our hearts go out to any affected." Trudeau added, "We're going to obviously have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours."
Other witnesses described similar chaos in Toronto to CTV News on Monday. Witness Alex Shaker spoke with the news network and said that the van was being driven at a high speed at the intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue. He added that he saw the truck strike someone with a stroller and noted that the vehicle was southbound.
"He started going down on the sidewalk and crumbling down people one by one," Shaker told CTV News. The driver "just destroyed so many people’s lives," he said. "Every single thing that got in his way."
Another witness named Phil Zullo told CTV News that he was headed up north when he saw "shoes and hats flown everywhere" on the sidewalk. Toronto police authorities said that the van was located on Poyntz Avenue and belonged to a rental company.
Witnesses spoke with CNN and described local havoc as a result of the van plowing into pedestrians. One witness named Raj Irshad said that while he didn't see the vehicle strike pedestrians, he witnessed the disturbing aftermath. Irshad said that he saw "multiple" emergency vehicles gathered at the scene.
Another witness told CNN that he estimated the van to be traveling at "60 to 70 kilometers per hour" and saw the mobile hit a pedestrian. "And then, just pandemonium broke loose, just everyone was going crazy," the witness said.
The Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, released a statement on the truck incident and said, "My thoughts are with those affected by this incident and the frontline responders who are working to help those injured." Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne tweeted her condolences and added, "Thank you to the first responders caring for victims and witnesses."
Transit has been temporarily culled by official authorities as the investigation goes on. The Toronto Transit Commission has shut down commute between Sheppard and Finch train stations and has guided locals to use shuttle services that will be in effect soon.