Toronto van attack suspect faces three more attempted murder charges

Ottawa (AFP) –


The man accused in a van attack that killed 10 people in Toronto was charged Thursday with three additional counts of attempted murder during a brief court appearance.

Alek Minassian, 25, already faces 10 murder charges, and the additional indictments bring the total attempted murder charges to 16.

He is alleged to have rented a van last month and plowed into pedestrians on a crowded Toronto sidewalk, acting out of an apparent grudge against women, expressed in his posts on social media just prior to the attack.

Video footage captured his arrest shortly after the attack as he stood by the van with its front end mangled, behaving erratically.

The new charges related to newly identified injured persons who had left the scene of the attack before emergency responders arrived, but subsequently went to police.

Authorities have played down comparisons to other attacks carried out by truck-driving extremists in London, Nice and other cities.

That view was echoed on Thursday by Minassian's lawyer, who spoke to reporters outside the courtroom after the hearing.

"I have no knowledge of anything that would make me believe this was an act of terrorism," said defense attorney Boris Bytensky.

"There were a lot of people that were terrified, this was obviously a terrifying incident, but there's no terrorism as we usually use that term involved in this case."

Bytensky declined to comment on his client's mental health, and said it was too early for a bail application or to enter a plea in the case.

Minassian is scheduled to return to court on September 4.

The victims of the attack were mostly women. They ranged in age from 22 to 94 years, and included a Jordanian man visiting his son in Toronto and a South Korean student.