TORONTO — Toronto police are still trying to piece together the motive behind the van attack that left 10 people dead and whether the suspect’s frustrations with women contributed to the rampage.
Sgt. Graham Gibson, a homicide detective with the Toronto police, said the victims in the attack are “predominately female,” but there’s no evidence that suspect Alek Minassian was bypassing men or deliberately targeting women.
Minutes before carrying out the rampage, the 25-year-old posted on Facebook what appears to be a message praising a man who vowed to “destroy” women who rejected him.
“All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” reads the post. The accolade apparently refers to the California killer who carried out a “day of retribution” in 2014, CNN law enforcement analyst Josh Campbell said.
Facebook has since taken the post down. The full post also says “the incel rebellion has already begun.”
“Incel” or “involuntarily celibate,” is a term used by men who claim they have been denied their right to experience sex with women.
The misogynistic community describing themselves as “incels” was banned from Reddit in November for breaking rules that prohibit hate speech on the online platform, The New York Times reported.
Members of the group were accused of encouraging violence against women as well as justifying and encouraging rape, according to an online petition calling to ban the subreddit community.
Gibson said Tuesday that investigators are looking at all aspects for the investigation, including the content of Minassian’s post.
When asked if the suspect was motivated by his frustrations with women, Gibson said it was part of the investigation.
Suspect faces 23 charges
Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder for each of the victims, in addition to 13 counts of attempted murder.
Another charge of attempted murder is being considered, officials said.
In a brief hearing at the Ontario Court of Justice, Minassian appeared attentive Tuesday as he stood in court wearing a white prison jumpsuit with his hands cuffed behind him.
A judge has ordered that he remains in custody until he returns to court for a bail hearing on May 10.
‘She embodied the definition of altruism’
A loving grandmother, a Jordanian national visiting his children and an investment firm worker were among the 10 people killed Monday.
Dorothy Sewell was “the best grandmother anyone could have asked for,” her grandson, Elwood Delaney, said.
She was an avid sports fan and loved to watch the Toronto’s Blue Jays and Maple Leafs.
The sports community is also mourning the loss of Anne-Marie D’Amico, a long-time volunteer at the Rogers Cup, a professional tennis tournament.
Through the years, D’Amico went from ball girl to committee head of Stadium Control, according to Tennis Canada. The investment firm worker had also gone on volunteer trips to the Dominican Republic.
She “embodied the definition of altruism,” her family said in a statement.
“It comforts us knowing that the world has a chance to know her and we hope that in this time, people fight with the same altruism rather than anger and hatred,” they added.
Another victim is Munir Abdo Habib al-Najar, a Jordanian national who was visiting one of his children in Toronto, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Canadian authorities have not released the names of the victims and have said they are still working to identify them.
Hospital officials said 12 of the 14 injured remain hospitalized. Five are in critical condition, three are in serious condition and four are stable.
A dramatic arrest
Cellphone video obtained by CNN partner CTV appears to show a tense standoff with a suspect after the incident. Police have not said whether the person in the video was Minassian.
The footage appears to show a man standing in front of a white van with a damaged front bumper. The man is yelling and extending one arm, pointing an object at an officer standing behind a black car.
The officer has his weapon drawn and pointed at the man. The officer slowly steps toward him and yells “Get down, get down!”
Later in the video, the man is seen on the ground and the officer is cuffing his hands behind him; the object can be seen lying on the ground off to the side.