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Alek Minassian charged with murdering 10 in Toronto rampage

By Mythili Sampathkumar

A man accused of driving a van that ploughed into people on a busy downtown Toronto street has appeared in court charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Alek Minassian (25) of Richmond Hill, Ontario, appeared handcuffed in the courtroom in Toronto wearing a jumpsuit, and said little except to confirm he understood the proceedings.

The rented Ryder van was driven down the busy thoroughfare of Yonge Street.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: "Obviously all Canadians continue and will continue to have questions about why this happened, what could possibly be the motive behind it."

The suspect fled the scene in the vehicle but was caught by police on a nearby street less than 30 minutes after the incident.

Mobile video has surfaced purporting to show the arrest, and which appeared to show that the person arrested may have had a weapon.

The footage captured him shouting at police to "kill me".

Police have not confirmed that the person in the video was indeed the suspect.

The scene showed a man standing in front of a white van with a dented bumper, like the one Minassian is suspected of using. The man appeared to be pointing an object at an officer, who has his own weapon drawn.

The officer did not fire a single shot despite the tense back and forth between he and the man, who claimed to have a gun "in his pocket". He later managed to arrest the man without further incident.

The high death toll is because the van was driven a "half-mile to one mile" down the street, District Chief for Toronto Fire Stephen Powell had told CNN.

Toronto Police chief Mark Saunders said the act "looks intentional", but has stopped short of officially referring to it as an attack or an act of terrorism. Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed there did not appear to be any "national security connection".

One Facebook clue for investigators came when they found a page believed to be Minassian's.

The user cryptically posted the day of the incident: "Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!"

Police think it may have been a reference to a 2014 attack using a vehicle on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Rodger shot and killed six people while injuring 14 before turning the gun on himself.

Police in that case said Rodger's motivation was likely his involvement in the men's activist movement, comprised of people who think women do not actually want gender equality but have been brainwashed by society and propaganda.

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