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Toronto van attack: Incel accused of killing 10 people told police ‘mission accomplished’

‘I consider myself a supreme gentleman,’ suspect says in 190-page transcript showing glimpse of path to radicalisation

Amanda Coletta
Saturday 28 September 2019 17:20 BST
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Toronto van attacker stands off with policeman

The man accused of killing 10 people in a van attack along a busy Toronto thoroughfare last year told police hours after his arrest that he was radicalised through online “incel” message boards and hoped to start a “rebellion,” according to a transcript.

In a near four-hour police interview recorded hours after the attack, Alek Minassian told Detective Rob Thomas of Toronto Police that he had used the white Ryder rental van as a weapon.

He said he had contact with two other incels who committed mass killings. Asked how he felt about those that he killed and injured, he said: “I feel like I accomplished my mission.”

He said he didn’t know whether he would apologise to the families of the victims.

Eight women and two men ranging in age from 22 to 94 were killed in the April 2018 attack, the deadliest act of mass murder in the city’s history.

Mr Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 of attempted murder.

The 26-year-old’s lawyer declined to comment on the release of the video and transcript on Friday.

Toronto attorney Boris Bytensky said his “views about the statement will be expressed inside the courtroom at the appropriate time”.

Mr Minassian’s judge-only trial is scheduled to start in February.

The video and a 190-page transcript of the police interview were made public earlier this week after an Ontario judge lifted a publication ban.

The materials provide a glimpse into his path to radicalisation, the online forums where misogynistic violence flourishes and his motives.

Mr Minassian told police he had a normal childhood and a good relationship with his parents and brother, but he never had a girlfriend and his interactions with women left him angry.

He spoke of a Halloween party in 2013. He said he tried to speak to women, but they rebuffed him, giving their “love and affection to obnoxious brutes”.

“I consider myself a supreme gentleman,” he told police.

Mr Minassian said a friend from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology introduced him to online discussion boards including the 4Chan board R9K and the subreddit ForeverAlone.

He also joined the subreddit Pol, where he said the “general topic is basically political discussions with an alt-right bias”.

He found a community of like-minded misogynistic men who refer to themselves as incels, or involuntarily celibate men who meet online to denigrate women.

He said he was attracted to the “blunt and honest” conversational style of the online forums, and accused other incels of being “too cowardly to act on their anger”.

Incels undergoing plastic surgery in desperate attempt to attract women

Mr Minassian told police he had contact with Chris Harper-Mercer and Elliot Rodger, two other incels who had committed mass killings, but those claims have not been verified.

Harper-Mercer shot and killed a teacher, eight students and himself at Umpqua Community College in Oregon in 2015. Rodger killed six people and himself in Santa Barbara, California, in 2014.

Mr Minassian told police he began to feel “radicalised” after the Santa Barbara killings. Rodger left an extensive digital history, including a YouTube video in which he vowed a “day of retribution” against “every single spoiled, stuck-up blonde” woman who had rejected him.

“I felt it was time to take action and not just sit on the sidelines and just fester in my own sadness,” Mr Minassian told police.

Days before the Toronto attack, he wrote in a post on 4Chan that there would be a “beta uprising” and encouraged others to follow suit. On the day of the attack, he wrote on Facebook that “the incel rebellion has begun”.

The April attack, which rattled one of North America’s safest cities, was stopped only when someone’s drink splashed onto the van’s windshield, Mr Minassian said.

Mr Minassian told police he pointed his wallet at an officer “with the intent for it to be confused as a gun so that I could be fatally shot.” In footage of his arrest, Mr Minassian says to “shoot me in the head”, but Constable Ken Lam declines.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service said last year it was “increasingly preoccupied” by the threat posed by right-wing extremism, which encompassed “misogynist violence”.

It cited the Toronto attack, saying it was motivated “in whole or in part” by right-wing extremism, and noted that many perpetrators “find inspiration from international terrorist attacks and adopt similar low-sophistication tactics”, including vehicle ramming.

The judge who lifted the publication ban said Mr Minassian’s mental state will be a focus of his trial.

The Washington Post

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