The Toronto van suspect apparently lauded an American mass killer

Shortly before he allegedly killed 10 pedestrians Monday, Alek Minassian may have praised a man who vowed to ...

Posted: Apr 25, 2018 1:38 PM
Updated: Apr 25, 2018 1:38 PM

Shortly before he allegedly killed 10 pedestrians Monday, Alek Minassian may have praised a man who vowed to "destroy" women who rejected him.

"All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!" reads a Facebook page believed to be Minassian's. The accolade apparently refers to the California killer who carried out a "day of retribution" in 2014.

Toronto police said Tuesday that Minassian posted a cryptic message to Facebook just before he allegedly took off in his vehicle. Sgt. Graham Gibson, a homicide detective, said Minassian's feelings about Rodger will be part of the investigation.

Minassian is accused of plowing a rental van into victims along busy Toronto street. So far, police have not cited a possible motive.

A deeper look into Minassian's past reveals an impressionable and socially awkward young man who dropped out of military training and was "terrified" of women, a former classmate says.

Who is this suspect?

- Minassian, 25, is from the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, police said.

- On Monday, he allegedly drove a rented van down the street with reckless abandon, swerving into the wrong lanes of traffic and careening onto a sidewalk. Ten people were killed, and 14 people were injured.

- Minassian was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. Another charge of attempted murder is being considered, officials said.

- Toronto authorities said they had no previous interactions with him, but a US law enforcement official said Minassian had been known to authorities.

- A former classmate said Minassian often succumbed to peer pressure -- such as running down a hallway shirtless when dared by other students. The classmate, who didn't want to be identified, said they bonded during special-needs classes at Windham Ridge Public School and Thornlea Secondary School.

- The classmate said Minassian was very self-deprecating. "If you put him down or disrespected him or insulted him, he would agree with you," the classmate said.

- Minassian also had severe anxiety when interacting with females and would freeze, unable to respond, the classmate said. "He was genuinely terrified with interacting verbally or physically at all, except for his mother," the classmate said.

- Another former classmate said Minassian was odd and kept to himself, but "he was always smiling."

- Minassian served in the Canadian Armed Forces last year, from August to October, a spokeswoman told CNN.

"He did not complete his recruit training and requested to be voluntarily released from the CAF after 16 days of recruit training," the Department of National Defence said. "For privacy reasons, we will not comment further on Alek Minassian's service in the CAF."

What about the motive?

- Authorities haven't released a motive. But, so far, officials are not calling this an act of terrorism. "There would appear to be no national security connection," Canadian Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said.

- Just before the attack, it appears Minassian praised Rodger on his Facebook account, CNN law enforcement analyst Josh Campbell said.

Rodger killed six people and injured 14 others in a stabbing, shooting and vehicle-ramming attack in 2014 near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus.

Investigators noted that Rodger was motivated by a personal grievance related to the extremist ideological subculture of men's rights activists. Supporters believe women don't want gender equality and have been brainwashed by feminist propaganda.

After his rampage, Rodger died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

How was Minassian caught?

- Minassian was arrested about seven minutes after police got a 911 call about the deadly rampage, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders said.

- He may have engaged in a tense standoff with police before his arrest. A cell phone video obtained by CNN partner CTV shows a man standing in front of a white van with a damaged front bumper, but officials haven't confirmed whether the man is Minassian.

The man yells and extends one arm, pointing an object at an officer standing behind a black car.

The officer, his weapon drawn, points at the man. The officer slowly steps toward him and yells "Get down, get down!"

Later in the video, the man is on the ground as the officer cuffs his hands behind him. The object, which Saunders said was not a gun, also drops to the ground.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the date of a Toronto police news conference.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57956

Reported Deaths: 2927
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10410429
Cuyahoga7883373
Hamilton6019198
Lucas2752302
Marion273438
Pickaway219741
Summit2143206
Montgomery203427
Mahoning1832232
Butler159944
Columbiana130760
Stark1123112
Lorain103567
Trumbull96770
Warren86021
Clark7669
Delaware58215
Fairfield57216
Tuscarawas56710
Belmont54922
Medina52332
Lake50018
Licking49312
Miami46631
Portage44258
Ashtabula43544
Wood42851
Clermont4146
Geauga40742
Wayne36351
Richland3455
Allen32141
Mercer2829
Greene2589
Darke25125
Erie24422
Holmes2363
Huron2202
Madison1978
Ottawa14923
Sandusky13614
Crawford1355
Washington13520
Putnam12815
Ross1273
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Coshocton1112
Auglaize1074
Monroe8917
Jefferson882
Union861
Muskingum831
Hancock791
Hocking788
Guernsey743
Preble731
Lawrence710
Williams712
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
Ashland591
Athens591
Carroll593
Wyandot596
Brown571
Defiance513
Knox511
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto410
Champaign401
Perry351
Van Wert350
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding250
Adams241
Jackson230
Pike230
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 96°
Angola
Few Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 90°
Huntington
Few Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 97°
Decatur
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 92°
Van Wert
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 92°
Few Storms Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events