Troubling details emerge about Toronto attack suspect’s private life
The man who mowed down two dozen Toronto pedestrians after proclaiming his allegiance to a misogynistic killer mostly struck women, police revealed Tuesday.
Alek Minassian’s victims — 10 of whom died — were “predominantly female,’’ according to Toronto police Sgt. Graham Gibson.
Still, authorities aren’t sure that the socially awkward killer, 25, who was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder Tuesday, intentionally targeted women as he mowed his rented white van along a crowded sidewalk Monday afternoon.
But part of their investigation into Minassian’s motive is focused on a “cryptic” Facebook post that he wrote shortly before the massacre, in which he identified himself as part of the “Incel Rebellion.”
“Incel” — short for “involuntarily celibate” — gained popularity in some strange corners of the internet following the rampage of infamous mass murderer Elliot Rodger, who killed six and wounded 13 in a 2014 shooting and stabbing spree near the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Rodger’s spree, which ended when he took his own life, was fueled by a lifetime hatred of women for rejecting him romantically.
“We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys,” Minassian proclaimed in his Facebook rant, using pejorative slang for men and women who follow social norms and lead active sex lives.
“All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” Minassian added.
The accused killer showed little emotion during his brief court appearance.
His shocked father, Vahe Minassian, wept as he watched his son held without bail. Asked whether he had any message for his son’s victims, the dad quietly said, “I’m sorry.”
Meanwhile, other details of Alek Minassian’s troubled private life continued to emerge, including that he was briefly a member of the Canadian Armed Forces in 2017.
“He did not complete his recruit training and requested to be voluntarily released from the CAF after 16 days of recruit training,” said a Canadian National Defense spokeswoman.
Minassian never received weapons training during his short stint in the military, The Canadian Press reported.
Former classmates described him as a “socially awkward” computer-science student who kept to himself.
“He didn’t really talk to anyone,” Joseph Pham, who attended a programming class with Minassian at Seneca College, told The Toronto Star.
Minassian attended a special-needs high school, where he could often be seen walking the hallways with his head down, hands clasped — and making meowing noises, said another former classmate, Shereen Chami.
“He wasn’t a social person, but from what I remember, he was absolutely harmless.”
Minassian proved anything but harmless Monday, when his van rocketed onto a sidewalk near downtown Toronto at around 1:30 p.m., plowing into terrified pedestrians for nearly a mile with police in hot pursuit.
When cops caught up to him, Minassian leaped out of the vehicle, raised an object toward one of them and yelled, “Kill me! Shoot me in the head!”
But Constable Ken Lam refused to be baited, taking Minassian alive and putting an end to the carnage.
Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack said Lam, who is being hailed a “hero,’’ is humble and easygoing, although “shaken” — not by the arrest, but by the mayhem preceding it.
“He said, ‘Mike, I just did my job. What I did was no big deal. But look at these poor people,’ ” McCormack said.
Identities of the deceased were slow to trickle out Tuesday, as police and the city coroner continued to sift through the massive crime scene.
Anne Marie D’Amico, a 20-year-old analyst at US-based investment firm Invesco, was the first deceased victim identified by name.
Chul Min Kang, a “concept chef” at Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouses, also was reported to be among the dead by Global News, which cited an internal letter to his colleagues there.
South Korea’s foreign-affairs embassy confirmed the deaths of two of its citizens, while the Jordanian embassy confirmed the passing of one of that country’s nationals, according to Global News.
Seneca College also confirmed the death of one of its students, an unidentified woman.
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