April 24 (UPI) — The man suspected of driving a van into crowds in Toronto was charged in court Tuesday with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.
Alek Minassian, 25, appeared briefly in court wearing a white jumpsuit and with his hands cuffed behind him in the prisoner’s box.
His next court appearance is May 10.
The charges came a short time after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there is no indication the “horrific” and “senseless” attack has a national security element.
“Obviously all Canadians . . . will continue to have questions about why this happened, what could possibly be the motive behind it,” Trudeau said. “At this time we have no reason to suspect there is a national security element to this attack. But obviously the investigation continues.”
Investigators believe Minassian intentionally drove onto the sidewalk at a busy intersection Monday afternoon. A motive has not emerged, officials said.
Investigators told CNN a Facebook account believed to belong to Minassian had posted earlier Monday, “All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”
Rodger killed six people — and himself — and injured 14 others in an attack near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus in 2014. Police said he had a personal grievance relating to his belief in extremist men’s rights activism, in which he believed women do not want gender equality and have instead been brainwashed.
Police said Minassian fled on foot after crashing into people Monday, but was arrested a short distance away.
Kenneth Wu, who saw the van on the move, told CBC News he locked eyes with the driver.
“As soon as he passed my car, he turned around and looked at me face-to-face,” Wu said. “That’s when I saw he was a very angry and scared young guy.”
One of the victims was identified Tuesday as Anne Marie D’Amico, an employee of the Invesco investment firm.