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Video: Toronto officer praised for response in standoff with van suspect

Chief Mark Saunder said the officer’s behavior reflected the “high-caliber training” that the department’s officers undergo

Dig deeper into the issue of vehicle attacks and policy regarding shooting at moving vehicles in an analysis by PoliceOne columnist Joel Shults: “Toronto attack highlights issue of using deadly force against deadly vehicles”.

By Police1 Staff

TORONTO — A Toronto police officer is being lauded for his response during a tense standoff with a man suspected of driving a van that struck and killed 10 people.

On Monday, a white van struck a crowd of pedestrians on a Toronto sidewalk, killing 10 people and injuring 15 others, the Toronto Star reports. A bystander’s footage later captured a man standing near the stopped van pointing a dark object at the officer.

During the standoff, the man can be heard telling the officer to kill him and shoot him “in the head.” The suspect also alleged he had a gun, to which the officer responded: “I don’t care. Get down,” according to Reuters.

The suspect, who was later identified as 25-year-old Alek Minassian, was eventually arrested by the officer. No shots were fired. Police said the suspect wasn’t armed, according to the CBC.

The officer, who Toronto police declined to identify, was praised for his calm and restraint during the encounter. Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said the officer’s behavior reflected the “high-caliber training” that the department’s officers undergo.

“They are taught to use as little force as possible in any given situation,” Saunders said.

Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, also lauded the officer for his response.

“He’s shaken up by the whole thing, and shaken up by the magnitude. He said, ‘you know, I was just doing my job,’” McCormack said. “He’s been confronted by someone who is making like he has a weapon, threatening the officer’s life, trying to get the officer to shoot him, and he arrests that guy.”

Minassian was charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. A judge ordered him to be held without bond and scheduled the next hearing for May 10.