Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET
Nine people have been killed and another 16 injured after a white van struck pedestrians in the North York area of Toronto. The driver was located and arrested, said police.
“This is going to be a long investigation,” said Toronto Police Service Deputy Chief Peter Yuen at an afternoon news briefing.
It’s unclear why the driver of the van collided with people and the police service has not yet released a statement on the motive or cause. “When we have more information we will tweet it out,” it tweeted.
It wasn’t immediately clear exactly how many people were injured in the incident, which happened at about 1:30 p.m. ET.
“Unknown of extent of injuries, possible 8-10 pedestrians struck,” the Toronto Police said on Twitter. Several minutes later, the department added it was “too early to confirm the number of pedestrians struck or their injuries.”
Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that the van was stopped by police and that it might have jumped the curb before hitting people on the sidewalk.
At least eight ambulances have driven to Sunnybrook Hospital some twenty minutes away from the scene, The Toronto Star reported. “One body was covered by an orange tarp at Tolman Ave., a block south of Finch, while a half a block away, another body was covered by a tarp,” said the paper.
A witness told The Star that he heard people screaming while he was sitting in his car. “I never heard screams like that before ever in my entire life. People were running all around trying to flag cops down, like running in front of moving cars trying to flag an officer down.”
A worker in a restaurant near the area where the incident occurred told the CBC, “I just see one man lying at an intersection at Yonge and Kempford. There are ambulances around him and paramedics and cops,” she said. “I was just working and then another worker told me a man might have been possibly been hit by a car. I see a man on the ground right now and he hasn’t been moving at all.”
In a written statement posted on twitter, Toronto Mayor John Tory called it “a very tragic incident.” “My thoughts are with those affected by this incident and the frontline responders who are working to help those injured,” he said. Tory said he was speaking with Toronto Police Service Chief Mark Saunders and receiving updates from the fire department, emergency and Toronto Transit Commission.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters, “Obviously we’re just learning about the situation in Toronto. Our hearts go out to anyone affected. We’re going to obviously have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours.”
The TTC immediately shut down subway service on a metro line near the incident, according to The Star. The police tweeted that part of the road was closed to vehicles and pedestrians.
This is a developing story. Some things that get reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.