Public remains in the dark about Toronto attacks

Public remains in the dark about Toronto attacks

One year after a man drove a van into pedestrians on Yonge St. and nine months after another killer opened fire on passersby on Danforth Ave., Torontonians have yet to be given an official statement on possible motives.

Mayor John Tory said the city remembers the 10 people who lost their lives in the van attack, and the other victims who suffered serious, in some cases, life-altering, injuries.

“Up until that point, a year ago, we had watched horrific incidents in many other places around the world … but (that) didn’t happen in Toronto,” Tory said Tuesday. “There was a loss of innocence, but fortunately there wasn’t a loss of heart.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory was the keynote speaker at the Empire Club on March 20, 2019. (Veronica Henri, Toronto Sun)

Just a few months after the Yonge Street incident, on July 22, a man began shooting randomly at people on Danforth Avenue, killing 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis, before committing suicide.

According to warrants, police found ammunition and DVDs claiming 9-11 was a hoax in shooter Faisal Hussain’s apartment.

The man charged in the Yonge Street van attack, Alek Minassian, is scheduled to go to trial next year. None of the allegations against him have been proven in court.

Minassian had allegedly posted online about an incel rebellion, a movement which generally blames women for a man’s inability to secure a relationship.

For both suspects, there was speculation of underlying mental health or developmental issues.

Officials have yet to report publicly on what they believe were the motives for the attacks.

While a case is being investigated or before the courts, it’s difficult for the police and justice system officials to give a complete explanation of what they think happened, Tory said.

“What you don’t want to do is either compromise a police investigation or in any way jeopardize legal proceedings that are happening in the criminal justice system,” he said. “It is frustrating because I know that people want to know more about what happened a year ago as do I.”

The mayor said he’s certain the public will know much more once the justice proceedings are concluded.

In the case of the Danforth shooting, there is no trial pending and police have released more details this year, he said.

Tory said he believes officials have done what they can to prevent similar incidents without turning the city into “some sort of security nightmare.”

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