Alek Minassian, 25, named by police as the Toronto attack suspect, was a socially awkward computer whiz, friends said
The Toronto van attack suspect was a socially awkward computer whiz-kid who may have harbored an obsession with US mass killer Elliot Rodger.
Police have named Alek Minassian, 25, as the man they believe was behind the attack which killed 10 and wounded 15 on Monday.
Shortly before the attack, a Facebook profile with the same name uploaded a post which read: ‘All hail the supreme gentleman Elliot Rodger’.
The post also mentioned ‘incel’, which is a term used to refer to men who have been made ‘involuntarily celibate’ because women continually reject their advances.
The post says: ‘Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161.
‘The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!’
Chad is a term used to refer to sexually active men among the incel community.
Social media posts by an account linked to Minassian mentioned US mass shooter Elliot Rodger and a community called ‘incel’ which is made up of mostly men who are rejected by women, and are therefore ‘involuntarily celibate’
Rodger killed six people and then himself at the University of Santa Barbara in 2014 after recording a manifesto in which he ranted against ‘entitled s**ts’ who rejected his advances
While Rodger did not directly identify himself as incel, the video manifesto he uploaded before carrying out his bloody rampage – in which he plots to kill ‘entitled s**ts because they rejected him – has made him an incel figurehead.
In the video, Rodger describes himself as ‘the supreme gentleman’. He killed six people at the University of California Santa Barbara in 2014, before killing himself.
Investigators told CNN and NBC that they believe the Facebook profile is linked to the Toronto attack suspect.
Elsewhere, a LinkedIn account under Minassian’s name revealed him to be a student of Seneca College, in the North York neighborhood where the attack took place.
There, classmates told the Globe and Mail that he was a socially awkward computer studied student.
One person who had worked on a project with Minassian said he appeared to suffer from a social disability, and had physical tics that he struggled to control – shaking his hands and tapping his head.
Minassian has been taken into police custody and is due to appear in court on Tuesday. Police have not disclosed his motive, but sources suggested mental illness was a factor
Ten people were killed and 15 injured after a van mounted the pavement at a busy intersection on Monday before driving into pedestrians
Police at the scene of the attack on Monday. While officials said the attacker’s actions were deliberate, they added that terrorism is not a likely motivation
Two other classmates also said he was socially disabled.
Another project-mate of Minassian said he graduated last week after seven years of study – delaying his course because he worked several software development jobs.
The student added that Minassian had not lined up any work after college, and did not appear to have strong religious or ideological affiliations.
Ari Bluff told CBC News that he went to Thornlea Secondary School with Minassian, and the two had a computer studies class together.
While Bluff did not describe Minassian as disabled, he did say he was ‘not overly social’ and lacked a close friend circle.
‘I never saw him with a group of friends, generally. But whenever we would see him in the hallways, we’d always speak to him or say hi to him or whatnot,’ Bluff said.
Minassian is now in custody and was due in court on Tuesday morning.
While police have not publicly discussed a motive for the attack, Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he does not believe it was terrorism.
Several law enforcement sources told NBC that mental illness may be the cause.
A woman breaks down in tears at the scene of the Toronto van attack on Monday
Farzad Salehi consoles his wife, Mehrsa Marjani, who was at a nearby cafe and witnessed the aftermath when a van plowed down a crowded sidewalk
People sign a memorial after a driver plowed a rented van along a crowded sidewalk in Toronto, killing at least 10 people
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