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Toronto van suspect a withdrawn figure, with special needs

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The suspect in a Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday attended a high school program for students with special needs where he would often walk the halls with his head down and hands tightly clasped, according to former classmates.

Police say Alek Minassian, 25, was arrested 26 minutes after he allegedly drove a white rental van into a crowd in the north end of Toronto, sending bodies flying.

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A bystander video of the incident, shown on CBC TV, shows a man repeatedly pointing an object at a police officer who shouts at him to ‘get down’ as the suspect demands: “Kill me”.

Shereen Chami said her former classmate was not violent. She said Minassian was part of a program at Thornlea Secondary School, in Toronto’s northern suburbs, for high school students with special needs, attending a mix of mainstream and separate classes.

 Chami remembers him walking the halls with his hands together and his head down, and making meowing noises.
“He wasn’t a social person, but from what I remember he was absolutely harmless,” she said.
Two other classmates said they attended classes for students with special needs alongside Minassian. Special needs is a blanket term used in the Canadian education system that covers learning and behavioral difficulties as well as physical disabilities.

Police said Minassian was not previously known to them and his motives were still unknown. Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said the driver’s actions “definitely looked deliberate”.

Minassian’s Facebook page could not be accessed through the social networking site. A bare-bones version available through the Internet Archive said he attended Seneca College from 2011 to April 2018, graduated from Thornlea secondary school in 2011 and listed software development under professional skills.

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A September 2013 blog post said he had started to work at Seneca College’s Centre for Development of Open Technology. He posted about his progress developing software there until March 2014.

 Google’s Android store offers a parking app developed by someone named Alek Minassian.
Additional reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Michael Perry

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‘That’s bribery’: Nancy Pelosi explains why Trump is in deeper water than he thinks

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday explained why President Donald Trump could be guilty of attempted bribery.

At a press conference, Pelosi pointed out that bribery is named in the U.S. Constitution as an impeachable offense.

"What is the bribe?" the Speaker was asked.

"The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance [from Ukraine] in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That is bribery," she explained.

Watch the video from Fox News.

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LIVE COVERAGE: Multiple victims reported in Southern California school shooting

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Police are searching for a shooter who opened fire at southern California high school.

The Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's office tweeted Thursday around 8 a.m. local time that shots had been fired at Saugus High School.

Saugus was placed on lockdown, along with nearby elementary schools.

Multiple victims were reported at the school, although few details were released.

The shooter remains at large.

Students evacuate after shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California. https://t.co/D6PjO6Y4F7 pic.twitter.com/YD3iGA7Ol5

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After surprise ruling, firearm-makers may finally decide it’s in their interest to help reduce gun violence

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Mass shootings have become a routine occurrence in America.

Gun-makers have long refused to take responsibility for their role in this epidemic. That may be about to change.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 12 refused to block a lawsuit filed by the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting victims, clearing the way for the litigation to proceed. Remington Arms, which manufactured and sold the semiautomatic rifle used in the attack, had hoped the broad immunity the industry has enjoyed for years would shield it from any liability.

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