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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.

Cases: 1560117

Reported Deaths: 20796
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2118112563
Lake1021301523
Allen964791027
Hamilton75541551
St. Joseph66476761
Elkhart51045634
Vanderburgh50511531
Tippecanoe45721338
Johnson39600527
Hendricks37933463
Porter35132476
Madison30330547
Clark27296331
Vigo26401347
Monroe24100249
LaPorte23921313
Howard23237381
Delaware22453370
Hancock19314220
Bartholomew18980216
Kosciusko18400204
Warrick17733216
Wayne16982303
Floyd16686257
Grant15966300
Morgan15091232
Boone13924138
Dearborn12235113
Shelby12225152
Noble12170142
Henry12027202
Dubois11696152
Marshall11625171
Jackson11111104
Cass10578143
Lawrence10529221
Huntington10523140
DeKalb10482132
Gibson10114127
Montgomery9671144
Harrison9471117
Knox9415125
Whitley902571
Steuben8934105
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Miami8533135
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Scott685787
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Daviess6825130
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Clay628975
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Wells6090121
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Washington528071
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Brown239856
Newton239761
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Crawford224932
Switzerland207914
Martin196722
Warren183922
Union178119
Ohio129216
Unassigned0763

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2515949

Reported Deaths: 31987
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2719422100
Cuyahoga2606673087
Hamilton1758091756
Montgomery1177451651
Summit1089011418
Lucas935321193
Butler83907963
Stark771001431
Lorain64214809
Warren53428489
Mahoning51224930
Lake47591611
Clermont46928452
Delaware41107220
Trumbull39746790
Licking38790416
Medina38646427
Fairfield35828349
Greene34313435
Portage32429366
Clark32361453
Richland29653444
Wood29379301
Allen25875403
Miami24243408
Muskingum23564255
Columbiana23046409
Wayne22093365
Tuscarawas19637428
Marion18616235
Erie18608224
Ashtabula18569362
Scioto18159214
Ross17594260
Pickaway16419181
Hancock16115232
Geauga15511229
Lawrence15094186
Belmont14236248
Union1419584
Huron13908184
Jefferson13656261
Sandusky13268200
Athens12877107
Knox12160201
Seneca12055204
Darke11440202
Ashland11248184
Washington11152172
Auglaize10873147
Crawford10432178
Shelby10402160
Brown10094145
Highland9746151
Fulton9726154
Guernsey9683122
Defiance9567137
Logan9470147
Clinton9428132
Mercer9099112
Madison9032111
Preble8524170
Williams8305138
Putnam8069136
Champaign8040113
Ottawa7971123
Jackson7848121
Perry7514102
Coshocton7411136
Morrow729184
Fayette715992
Pike666689
Hardin6564133
Gallia638891
Adams6227127
Van Wert6065121
Henry602596
Hocking5918105
Wyandot503594
Carroll5009101
Holmes4880167
Paulding426465
Meigs400974
Monroe316468
Harrison299162
Noble296952
Morgan292748
Vinton258646
Unassigned08
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