TORONTO (AP) — A van apparently jumped onto a sidewalk Monday at a busy intersection in Toronto and struck down pedestrians before the vehicle was found and the driver taken into custody, Canadian police said.
Authorities said at least nine people are dead and 16 were injured, while a photo from the scene showed an apparent body on the sidewalk, but police did not immediately provide details on casualties. CTV News said at least four of the hospitalized victims were in critical condition.
It was not immediately clear what caused the van to strike the pedestrians in the north-central part of the city. Police did not immediately identify the driver.
“At this point it’s too early to tell what if any motive there was. We are also unable right now to tell the extent or the number of persons injured,” Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray said.
A witness, Phil Zullo, told Canadian Press that he saw police arresting a man who had been driving a Ryder rental truck and saw people “strewn all over the road” where the incident occurred.
“I must have seen about five, six people being resuscitated by bystanders and by ambulance drivers,” Zullo said. “It was awful. Brutal.”
Toronto paramedic spokeswoman Kim McKinnon said first responders were treating multiple patients, but wouldn’t confirm the number or severity of injuries.
Police shut down the Yonge and Finch intersection following the incident and Toronto’s transit agency said it has suspended service on the subway line running through the area.
The incident occurred as Cabinet ministers from the major industrial countries were gathered in Canada to discuss a range of international issues in the run-up to the G7 meeting near Quebec City in June.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his sympathies for those involved. “Our hearts go out to everyone affected,” Trudeau said in Ottawa. “We are going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours.”