Nine Dead after Van Plows into Crowd in Toronto

Police officers stand near covered bodies after a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in north Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Updated 6:36pm

A white van killed nine and injured 16 when its driver jumped a Toronto sidewalk and plowed through crowds for about a mile on Monday afternoon.

The driver was taken into custody after getting out of his vehicle and pointing what appeared to be a gun at police in an intense standoff.

“Kill me. I have a gun in my pocket. Shoot me in the head,” the suspect can be heard  telling police before he is caught and held against a police car.

The rampage began just before 1:30 p.m. around the intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue. It is still unclear whether the driver intended to harm pedestrians or whether the incident was a traffic accident, but least one witness named Ali told CNN he believed the driver had malicious intentions.

“This person was intentionally doing this, he was killing everybody,” the witness said. “He kept going, he kept going. People were getting hit, one after another.”

“He was in control of what he was doing, he knew what he was doing from what I can. I was in shock but from what I can tell that’s what he was doing,” a witness told a local reporter.

Other witnesses saw elderly bystanders get hit and a woman with a stroller fly into the air.

The body count was announced by Toronto deputy police chief Peter Yuen at a press conference on Monday.

“The investigation is at a stage where no further information can be confirmed at this point,” said Canada’s public-safety minister, Ralph Goodale, at a news conference. “The police are conducting obviously their thorough investigation to determine what happened and why it happened, the motivations involved.”

Goodale said there has been no change to Canada’s terrorism-alert level.

Ministers from Canada, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan were meeting just 18 miles from the scene at the time of the incident.

“Our thoughts are obviously with all of those affected. We are still gathering information. We will keep Canadians updated,” said Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“My thoughts are with those affected by this incident and the frontline responders who are working to help those injured,” offered Toronto Mayor John Tory. “I have offered any and all assistance that the city can provide to police to help this investigation.”

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