Driver with history of mental illness kills 10 in Canada

Driver with history of mental illness kills 10 in Canada

The gruesome killing of 10 innocent people in broad daylight has sent the Toronto city in a state of shock and grief. Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old student at Toronto’s Seneca College, killed 10 people and injured 15 others after driving his rental van into a crowd of pedestrians at Yonge Street, north of downtown Toronto, on April 23, 2018. Out of those injured, four are reported to be critical. Though the motive of the incident remains unknown, Minassian has been identified as someone with a history of mental illness. The police is investigating the matter further.

After leaving a trail of destruction, Minassian sped off in his vehicle but was soon arrested. After getting out of the van, Minassian could be seen dressed in an all-black attire yelling “C’mon, kill me!” As the police approached, he could be heard shouting “Shoot me in the head!” He was arrested soon after. This is the worst massacre in Canada since 1989 when a man took 14 innocent lives out of hatred for women.

As per the authorities, prior to the incident, the murderer had searched and engaged in online discussions about Elliot Rodger (22) from California who had stabbed and shot six people in 2014 before taking his own life. The motive behind the atrocity was rejection by women. In one of his Facebook posts, Minassian had apparently expressed admiration for Rodger by posting “All hail Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”

An accident or a deliberate incident?

As per one of the witnesses Peter Kang, the incident seemed to be a deliberate one and not an accident as the suspect just went on hitting people on the sidewalk. According to another witness, Ali Shaker, who was driving near the suspected van, Minassian was driving at least 30 mph speed and deliberately moved the vehicle through the crowd of people enjoying a sunny day on one of the busiest streets. “He just started hitting everybody, man. He hit every single person on the sidewalk. Anybody in his way he would hit,” he added.

As per Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, the incident was likely not terror-related and did not appear to be connected in any way to national security.

Social awkwardness and mental disability possible reasons behind attack

According to his classmates, Minassian was a friendly person but he seemed to suffer from social disability though never had serious conflicts. According to a classmate who worked with Minassian at Seneca in 2015, Minassian had a hard time speaking to people, couldn’t function well under pressure and suffered from constant physical tics where he shook his hands and tapped his head. Joseph Pham, a computer programmer who went to class with Minassian at Seneca College, described Minassian as “socially awkward” and someone who did not really talk to anyone and basically just kept to himself.

Another of Minassian’s classmates expressed his disbelief that Minassian could be capable of renting and driving an automobile. He revealed that Minassian did not drive and didn’t even know how a steering wheel worked. Minassian was fond of playing video games and had even created an app in the Google Play Store called the “Toronto Green Parking Advisor.” He was expected to graduate in 2018.

Mental disabilities can be treated

If you know someone or who is suffering from any kind of mental health disorder, do not delay the matter and get them professional help. At the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline, we have trained specialists who are available 24/7 to listen, provide help and guide you or your loved ones in the right direction. Our representatives at the 247 mental health treatment hotline can answer all your queries and support you in finding the nearest 247 Mental Health Treatment Center basis your needs. Call us on our 24/7 helpline (855) 653-8178 or chat live with an expert any time of the day to know more.