In Toronto, cardinal urges prayers for victims of van attack

Share |
Increase font size Decrease font size

Credit: Andrey_Kuzmin/Shutterstock.

Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto offered prayers this week for the victims of a van attack that left 10 people dead and over a dozen injured on Monday.

“I invite the Catholic community across the Archdiocese of Toronto to join me in offering our prayers for all those who were killed and injured in the violence incident earlier today,” said Cardinal Collins in an April 23 statement.

“I will be asking all 225 Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Toronto to offer special prayer intentions this week for all those who have suffered. Let us all unite in our efforts to bring comfort and care to those who are hurting today,” he continued.

On April 23, a white van was driven down a busy street north of midtown Toronto, swerving in and out of traffic along the sidewalks and leaving a trail of destruction almost a mile long. One witness, Diego DeMatos, said the scene was like “a war zone,” according to reports from CNN. 

“Based on witness accounts, we have a vehicle that started north on Yonge Street from Finch [Avenue] and drove southbound at some point in times on sidewalks, at some point in times driving southbound in northbound lanes,” said Mark Saunders, the Toronto police chief, according to CNN.

Although authorities have not labeled the incident as an act of terrorism at this time, and are still investigating the motive behind it, Saunders did note that the “actions definitely look deliberate.”

Police arrested 25-year-old suspect Alek Minassian several blocks from the scene of the attack, less than 30 minutes after authorities had received a 911 call.

Minassian was charged on Tuesday in a Toronto court with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder, the BBC reported. Minassian’s bail hearing will be held on May 10.

Toronto officials said Minassian, who is from the northern Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, had not previously been on their radar. However, a U.S. law enforcement agent said that the suspect had been known to them.

The death toll from the incident currently stands at 10, while 15 others have been injured, including at least five who are in critical condition, according to reports. Mourners have set up a makeshift memorial on Yonge Street where part of the attack took place.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences to the victims and their families, and applauded the first responders for their quick and life-saving efforts.

“We should all feel safe walking in our cities,” Trudeau said.

“We are 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.”

Share |
Increase font size Decrease font size