Van strikes pedestrians in Toronto

By Veronica Rocha and Brian Ries, CNN

Updated 10:14 p.m. ET, April 23, 2018
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3:57 p.m. ET, April 23, 2018

He saw the crash and assisted an injured man

From CNN’s Ellie Kaufman

An eyewitness said he rushed out of his restaurant to help treat a severely injured young man.

Bersat Noorai, manager of Taftan Kebab, said he saw a white van hit the bench in front of his restaurant. After seeing the crash, he ran outside and saw two or three people on the ground.

“I just bring for him a towel, water, whatever. I did call 911,” Noorai said.

He said the young man was bleeding and losing a lot of blood.

Shortly thereafter, police arrived and took him away in an ambulance.

3:48 p.m. ET, April 23, 2018

Video appears to show standoff between armed individual and a police officer

The following video appears to show an individual and a police officer in a standoff near the scene of the Toronto van strike. 

The individual appears to be pointing a handgun on a responding police officer, who is telling him to lay down.

Note: CNN has not yet confirmed this is the van driver police took into custody. CNN partner CTV says it obtained this video from a viewer who does not want to be named.

3:46 p.m. ET, April 23, 2018

Two cars tried to stop the van, witness says

Chelsea Luelo, who initially heard very loud honking, said it looked as if the driver of the van was intentionally plowing into pedestrians. 

“It looked like he was going straight, halfway through the sidewalk,” Luelo said.

She then saw two cars trying to stop the van. 

“It was kind of like they were trying to steer him off, but I guess he got away because clearly he made it all the way down to Shepherd."

Luelo said she also saw the driver hit a fire hydrant.

She also saw three more people hit — one in front of a nail spa, another near the Canadian post box, and yet another in front of another nearby restaurant.

The police and paramedics arrived to the scene quickly.  She said the bodies were later removed.

3:45 p.m. ET, April 23, 2018

7 people taken to Toronto hospital

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has received seven patients from today's incident. They are unable to provide details on the severity of those injuries.

Here's the release: 

Following an incident involving a van striking a number of pedestrians in the Yonge and Finch area, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has received seven patients from the scene in its Trauma Centre.Sunnybrook’s Emergency Department has been locked down as an added precaution and access to the Bayview Campus is being controlled.Sunnybrook has activated its Hospital Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) and is meeting currently to ensure beds are available for the injured.
3:44 p.m. ET, April 23, 2018

Eyewitnesses saw a white van hit four people

An eyewitness working at a nearby restaurant said he saw a white van hit four people.

Daniel Paik, who works at Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu in Toronto, said he initially thought it was a car accident.

He said there are police in front of his restaurant and four bodies on the ground.

Another eyewitness, a restaurant worker, saw four people hit.

She saw the first person hit in front of her restaurant, Capriccio Café.

3:26 p.m. ET, April 23, 2018

Canada prime minister: "Thank you to the first responders"

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just tweeted about the crash in Toronto, saying he is closely monitoring the situation.

He said:

3:15 p.m. ET, April 23, 2018

Toronto mayor: "My thoughts are with those affected"

Toronto Mayor John Tory issued a statement about today's pedestrian crash.

This is his full statement:

There has been a very tragic incident at Yonge St. and Finch Ave.My thoughts are with those affected by this incident and the frontline responders who are working to help those injured.I have spoken to Chief Mark Saunders and my office is being updated by Toronto Fire, EMS, TTC and the acting city manager. I am on my way to Mel Lastman Square right now for an update on the situation.I have offered any and all assistance that the city can provide to police to help this investigation.

 

4:07 p.m. ET, April 23, 2018

Eyewitness: "Holy God, I have never seen a scene like this in my life"

A man told CNN partner CTV the driver of a van "just starting hitting everybody."

He said he thought the driver had a heart attack because the driver was plowing into everything.

The driver, he said, was just "hitting people one by one."

"It was a nightmare... It was a gruesome scene. It was really bad out there," said the man who was overcome with emotion. "I couldn't believe what I had seen."

He said at least one victim was dragged. There was blood everywhere, he said.

"Holy God, I have never seen a scene like this in my life," the man said.

3:00 p.m. ET, April 23, 2018

Vehicle drove up to a mile, fire official says

From CNN's Gabi Milian 

Stephen Powell, district chief for Toronto Fire, told CNN that the vehicle that struck pedestrians in Toronto today "covered between a half-mile and a mile."

Earlier, the Toronto Fire Service earlier tweeted about the crash, calling it "horrific."