By Christopher Wells
Ten people were killed and at least fifteen others wounded when a rental van was driven onto the sidewalk of a busy street in the Canadian city of Toronto on Monday afternoon. Toronto’s police chief, Mark Saunders, said the incident “definitely looked deliberate,” although the nation’s Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale said the “horrendous” attack “does not appear to be connected in any way to national security.”
After the van came to a stop, a Toronto police officer confronted the driver, who appeared to be holding a gun. The officer was praised for determining the man did not have weapon, and arresting the 25-year-old without further incident. Police Chief Saunders said, “The officer [on Monday] did a fantastic job with respect to utilizing his ability of understanding the circumstance and environment and having a peaceful resolution at the end of the day."
Authorities are still trying to determine a motive for the attack, and are encouraging people to avoid unwarranted speculation.
Statement of Cardinal Collins
As news of the tragedy spread, reactions began pouring in. Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Archbishop of Toronto, spoke briefly Tuesday morning with Vatican News. “It’s very sad what has happened,” he said, “when all these innocent people going about their daily life have been struck down in such a tragic way – I certainly pray for them, for all of their relatives – when this violence came just out of nowhere.” The Cardinal said he is asking all the parishes in the Archdiocese to offer special prayers this weekend “for all of those who suffer so much and are continuing to suffer because of this terrible act of violence.”
“We pray the Lord to bless and to guide all of those who are in this terrible situation which has occurred here in our city,” Cardinal Collins said. “May the Lord be with us in this time.”
Prime Minister responds to attack
Also Tuesday morning, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the nation from the Canadian Parliament, saying, “On behalf of all Canadians I offered my deepest, heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of all those who were killed and we wish a full recovery to the injured and stand with the families and friends of the victims.”
Trudeau also thanked first responders who, he said, “handled this extremely difficult situation with courage and professionalism.” He said the government is “monitoring this situation closely, and will continue working with our law enforcement partners around the country to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians.”