Who is Alek Minassian, the alleged suspect of purposely driving a white Ryder van into pedestrians in downtown Toronto. The horrific attack happened today at approximately 1:30 PM at the cross streets of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue East in-between the neighborhoods Newtonbrook and Willowdale in Toronto’s North York district.
Who is Alek Minassian?
According to this LinkedIn profile (whom may not be the Minassian in question), he was/is a student at Seneca College located in Toronto, and lives in Ontario, Canada. Minassian’s profile doesn’t get much deeper into his experience or education just that he spent eight years at the college, from 2011-2018, presumably getting a Bachelors degree and Master degree. Seneca College is a public college focusing on “Applied Arts and Technology.” To note, the profile doesn’t mention other positions or experience after “student,” so Minassian may or may not be attending the college still.
Is this the Alek Minassian? Maybe Not.
Many have tried to identify the suspect via the internet and social media, but what’s available out there might be pointing at the wrong person. Here’s the photo many outlets are publishing, but is this the Alek Minassian from today’s events? Maybe not.
The above LinkedIn photo may not be the Alek Minassian connected to the events in Toronto. As you can see and compare the photo above with the photo below, the clear difference is that one has shaved head that’s clearly dark black hair while the other looks as it is bald/balding. And the suspect being arrested below looks significantly older than the 25 years old media outlets have been reporting.
Minassian Researched Other Attacks
Minassian searched on other attacks. NBC News’s Jonathan Dienst reported that the suspect Alek Minassian (via Heavy) may have researched a previous mass-killing that happened in Isla Vista, California in 2014:
…allegedly researched and chatted online about the killings from 2014. The Isla Vista massacre occurred when 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured 14. He stabbed three men in his apartment, and then drove to a sorority house and shot three female students outside. Then Rodger drove to a deli and shot a male student, and then began driving through the city, shooting pedestrians and hitting some with his car. He was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Minassian is an Armenian surname, and Ancestry.com says that the last name can also be spelled as Minasyan or Minasian. No information about on whether Minassian was born in Toronto or was born elsewhere in Canada.
From the reports, the real Minassian is approximately 6-feet tall with an average build. The truck that he drove killed at least nine people and injured 16 in this developing story. Luckily, the suspect has been arrested and taken into custody after a dramatic standoff with Toronto police earlier today.
As of this post, police have yet to come up with a motive for the terrifying event. Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray said, “At this point it’s too early to tell what if any motive there was” and Ralph Goodale, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety asserted that it’s too early to determine if it’s international terrorism.
Yes, it’s really very early, so that’s not a surprise that the pieces haven’t been put together. As Canadian officials try to sort things out and restore peace and calm, officials in the U.S. Law Enforcement believe it was a deliberate act and that Minassian was “known to police” whether that’s because of ties to unsavory actors or mental illness or internet activity isn’t certain.
We’ll continue updating this post as more information comes in.