Nine dead after van drives into pedestrians in Toronto
- Canada's public safety minister says police doing best to identify what has taken place
- Nine confirmed to have been killed, 16 injured
- Driver taken in to custody
- Van belonged to rental company Ryder System
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said officials are investigating
A white van killed nine people, injuring 16 others, on a suburban Toronto sidewalk on Monday after jumping the curb and the driver was in custody, according to police and a Reuters witness.
It was not immediately clear if the incident was a deliberate act by the driver or a traffic mishap. It occurred at lunchtime on a sunny day and the sidewalks of the mixed commercial and residential area were full of pedestrians.
"Too early to confirm the number of pedestrians struck or their injuries," police said on Twitter.
Police were called just before 1:30 pm (18.30pm Irish time) to the corner of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue in the north end of the city, where a van drove onto the sidewalk and hit multiple people, said Toronto Police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray.
Buildings and workplaces in the area were locked down, and a nearby subway station was closed and service suspended.
The incident happened about 30 kms (18 miles) from downtown, where the Group of Seven foreign ministers of industrialized nations, including Canada, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan were meeting on Monday. There was no noticeable change in security around the Intercontinental Hotel where the ministers gathered.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said officials were investigating.
"We're still gathering information and as soon as we can, we'll share more information with Canadians," Trudeau told reporters about an hour after news of the incident broke.
The United States and Europe have seen a string of deadly attacks in which vehicles were used to mow down pedestrians, including an Oct. 31 attack in New York that killed eight.
Bystander Essy Taeb told Toronto's CP24 television the scene was chaotic.
"Everyone was running all over the place," Taeb said.