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Man accused of Toronto van murders told police he belonged to ‘incel’ movement

Alek Minassian faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

(Superior Court of Justice/The Canadian Press via AP)
(Superior Court of Justice/The Canadian Press via AP)

By Rob Gillies, Associated Press

A newly released video shows a man who allegedly used a van to kill 10 pedestrians in Toronto telling police he belonged to an online community of sexually frustrated men who plot attacks against people who have sex.

Alek Minassian faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder in connection with the attack on April 23 last year.

It drew attention to an online world of sexual loneliness, rage and misogyny after the suspect invoked an uprising by “involuntary celibates” and said he had contact with a California killer who hated women for rejecting him.

Minassian, 26, is accused of driving a rental van into crowds of pedestrians in a busy north Toronto neighbourhood. Eight women and two men aged 22 to 94 died. He has yet to enter a plea.

I feel like I accomplished my mission Alek Minassian

His trial begins in February, but a publication ban on his interrogation by police hours after the attack was lifted on Friday.

“I feel like I accomplished my mission,” he said when asked by a detective how he felt about the death of 10 people.

Minassian, who said he had never had a girlfriend and was a virgin, acknowledged he used the van as a weapon and wanted to inspire more attacks.

“I know of several other guys over the internet who feel the same way,” he said, adding they are “too cowardly to act on their anger”.

Minassian calls himself an “incel”, short for “involuntary celibate”.

The incel movement is an online subculture linked to the attack in Toronto as well as others in California and Florida. It promotes the misogynistic idea that men are entitled to have sex with women.

Incel has become a buzzword for certain men infuriated at being rejected by women and prone to float ideas for violent payback, according to sociologists and others who study them.

Like-minded people in internet forums sometimes use “Chad” and “Stacy” as dismissive slang for men and women with more active sex lives.

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Alek Minassian in court in Toronto (Alexandra Newbould/Canadian Press/AP)

Minassian said he discussed his sexual frustrations on the website 4chan, which has become notorious as a place for extremists to post their views.

He said he had been in contact with Elliot Rodger, a community college student who killed six people and wounded 13 in shooting and stabbing attacks in 2014 near the University of California, Santa Barbara, before apparently shooting himself.

Rodger had railed in a manifesto and online videos about women who shunned him and called for an incel “overthrow” of what he saw as feminist domination.

Minassian said he became “radicalised” around the time of the Rodger attack.

“I felt it was time to take action and not just sit on the sidelines and just fester in my own sadness,” he said.

The only reason I stop my attack was because someone's drink got splashed on my windshield and I was worried that I would crash Alek Minassian

Minassian also said that in 2013 he went to a Halloween party and was laughed at by women with whom he tried to socialise. He said he was upset the women gave affection to bigger men.

“I was angry that they would give their love and affection to obnoxious brutes,” he said.

Minassian said he planned the Toronto attack for a month, adding: “The van was the perfect medium size to use as my weapon.

“I’m thinking that this is it, this is the day of retribution. I was driving down Yonge because I knew it would be a busy area and then as soon as I saw the pedestrians, I just decided to go for it.”

He said he would have kept going but something obscured his view.

“The only reason I stop my attack was because someone’s drink got splashed on my windshield and I was worried that I would crash,” he said.

“I wanted to do more but I’ve kind of been foiled by a lack of visibility.”

Minassian said he wished he had had an intimate relationship but only once asked a girl out in 2012.

“I did ask a girl out once, but she rejected me,” he said. “I felt crushed at that point.”

PA

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