Van strikes pedestrians in TorontoBy Veronica Rocha and Brian Ries, CNN
At least nine people were killed and 16 were injured today after a van plowed into pedestrians on a sidewalk in Toronto, Acting Chief Peter Yuen told reporters at a news conference.
The driver of the van was taken into custody, he said.
"I ask the city of Toronto, pray for our victims and also to assist the Toronto police service in bringing this matter to a successful conclusion," Yuen said.
Toronto Mayor John Tory assured residents of Toronto this afternoon that "the city is in safe hands" and he hopes "this is a time when the community should come together."
Speaking at a press conference just three hours after a man in a van reportedly mowed down pedestrians on a busy thoroughfare, Tory said the incident was "not the kind of things that we don't want to happen in a city and nowhere in the world but especially in Toronto. But things are as they are."
He added, "I hope that we will as a city remind ourselves of the fact that we are admired around the world for being inclusive and for being accepting and understanding and considerate and that we are united in standing in solidarity with those who have fallen victim to this terrible tragedy today."
Jonathan Mayor, a spokesperson for Ryder, told CNN the rental car company was aware that their van was involved in today's crash in Toronto.
He issued this statement:
The first reports of a collision involving pedestrians came at Finch Ave and Yonge St., and the driver was later arrested about 1.4 miles away (2.2 km).
A law enforcement official briefed on the situation in Toronto told CNN the incident is believed to be deliberate.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.