Yesterday was a very sad day in the City of Toronto. My hometown. My City. The 5th largest city in North America, and it happened on Yonge Street, the longest street in the world which connect Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe.
The section of Yonge Street that this occurred on was from Finch Avenue to Sheppard Avenue. I grew up, and lived at Yonge and Finch for almost 29-years. I worked just north of Yonge and Sheppard for the Canada Revenue Agency for almost 11-years, and my mother and sister both live at Yonge and Sheppard – my sister works on Yonge Street as well. This area I know very, very well. It currently is predominately a hotspot for Korean and Persian residents and businesses.
Yesterday, for whatever reason, a 25-year-old male from North of Toronto, decided to rent a cube van and drive on the sidewalk down Yonge Street running over innocent people, as well as mailboxes, fire hydrants, lamp posts and anything else that was in his way.
As of the time I am writing this, 10 innocent Torontonians have lost their lives, and another 10-15 are in hospital fighting for their lives / receiving treatment.
If you have seen the video of the arrest of the driver of the van, you will understand what makes Toronto so amazing, and why our police are the best. The unknown officer approached the driver, who whipped out his cell phone as if it were a gun and pointed it at the officer. The officer did not flinch, but kept approaching the driver.
The officer yelled to the driver, “Get down”.
The driver yelled to the officer, “Shoot me. Kill me. I have a gun in my pocket.”
The officer kept approaching the driver, slowly, gun drawn and yelling, “Get down. You’re going to get shot. Get down.”
The driver dropped his phone and was arrested.
He did not have a gun. Guns are not allowed in Canada.
Amazing, caught on video footage of an incredibly brave officer! Toronto Proud!
What else made me very proud of this city, and the people who live here is the countless stories of people rushing to the aid of the victims within seconds of the incident (which occurred over a period of 25-minutes) and administering CPR, and comforting the people as they lay in the streets badly wounded or dying.
Residents handed out water, supported each other, hugged those who needed to be held, and helped others to safety.
Any amazing reaction by an amazing community in an amazing city. It brings tears to my eyes to know that in a time of crisis and unknown that people from all walks of life, of all ethnic backgrounds, of all ages, sexes, and from all races, religions, etc., realized that Canadians are special people and we need to support each other.
That is what makes Canada great.
That is what makes Toronto great.
Growing up in such a multi-cultural city is a blessing as it allows you the opportunity to look at people for what they are… people. They are your neighbours, your friends, your colleagues, and your community.
Our city was under siege and our citizens reacted.
First responders, hospital staff, and police were incredible as usual, and everyone held their breath expecting news of this attack being a terrorist attack which would be adding to a horrific event, but it appears it was not terrorism.
News unfolding today reveals a man who was uncomfortable around women, who needed extra help in school and was unable to adjust to life as an adult. Without confirmation, it tells a story of a man who was rejected by women and who felt the best way to deal with it was not to get help, but to inflict terror on innocent people.
Words cannot express the sadness I am feeling for the families of the 10-people who will not be coming home from work today, or from their stroll on a beautiful sunny day. Their lives will be changed forever as will the witnesses, the first responders and anyone who saw the footage on TV or the Net.
How do we prevent these from happening again?
I don’t know.
I feel that this man’s parents should have gotten him help.
I feel like they should have known he was dealing with these issues and they should have worked with professionals to address his feelings, his anger issues, and his rage.
Canada has socialized medicine. It’s not like it would have costs the family a lot of money in appointments or medication…
Parents, it’s our responsibility, is it not, to help our children develop and contribute to society, not destroy it?
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims, and to those in hospital, we wish a speedy recovery.
Yesterday my city was under attack, and the people of this city made me so proud to be a Torontonian!
UPDATE: The drive has been charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.