Toronto van-mowing suspect Alex Minassian in his LinkedIn photo
Toronto van-mowing suspect Alex Minassian in his LinkedIn photo Minassian

The Toronto van attack suspect has been named and charged with 10 counts of first degree murder. Alek Minassian drove a white rental van along the pedestrian pavements of Yonge St on Monday, killing 10 people and injuring 15.

According to witnesses, the act appeared to have been deliberate. The driver, 25-year-old Minassian, fled the scene but was arrested shortly after. He was charged with 10 counts of first degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder as he entered a Toronto courtroom on Tuesday morning. He will return next month to face the charges.

Alek Minassian, what is known about him so far

But who is Alek Minassian? He did not have previous police records, which meant he was unknown to police.

His LinkedIn page lists him as a student of Seneca College from 2011 to 2018. He was also a member of the support staff at Seneca’s Office of Research and Innovation, the Star reveals. His name has since been removed from the college’s directory.

A classmate, Joseph Pham, who sat next to him in a computer programming class, said Minassian “kept to himself” and didn’t talk to anyone. He described him as “socially awkward” who would fidget or twitch frequently. Minassian, Pham said, also developed a Toronto Parking Authority app.

Another former classmate, Will Cornish, said Minassian was part of a special needs program at Thornlea Secondary School. The suspect could be seen in hallways twisting his hands together, he said. Minassian apparently did not have violent tendencies.

But Shannon Goel, who was Minassian’s fifth grade classmate, told the Star that she remembered him acting out. “He would throw fits; he would always act out, and it was hard for people to control him.”

The Department of National Defence said he was a member of the forces for only two months, from Aug. 23 to Oct. 25, 2017. According to a spokesperson, Minassian did not complete his recruit training and asked to be voluntarily released after 16 days.

Elliot Rodger worshipper

A Facebook post that appeared to be written by Minassian shortly before he killed pedestrians on Tuesday suggested that he might have been a fan of Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old American mass murderer who killed six people and injured 13 more sin California in 2014. He killed himself before he could be arrested.

“Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” the post read.

The word “incel” in the post is a portmanteau of “involuntary celibate.” It came into use after Rodger, who said he wanted to punish women for rejecting him and sexually active men for their success, committed his crime. “Chads” refer to the sexually successful men, while “Stacys” refer to the unattainable women, the National Post explains.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company has deleted Minassian’s account, saying, “There is absolutely no place on our platform for people who commit such horrendous acts.”

Minassian’s Arrest

Following the carnage, Minassian was involved in a brief sidewalk standoff with a police officer. Videos of his arrest were posted online. In the footage sees the suspect appearing to be attempting “suicide by cop.”

He told the officer that he had a gun as he slowly began to approach him. He appeared to point something at the officer.

“Get down!” the officer shouted, repeated it 13 times.

“Kill me,” he answered, but the cop refused. Even when the suspect claimed to have a gun in his pocket, the officer just answered, “I don’t care. Get down!”

Minassian was then arrested without getting shot.