Police are seen near a damaged van in Toronto after a van mounted a sidewalk crashing into a number of pedestrians on Monday, April 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Officer’s actions ‘one shining moment’ after Toronto van attack

Arresting officer’s actions ‘one shining moment’ in the wake of Toronto van attack

The president of Toronto’s police union says an officer’s actions in arresting a suspect in Monday’s deadly van attack was “one shining moment” in an otherwise horrific day.

Mike McCormack of the Toronto Police Association said the arrest, caught on videos that have been widely circulated on social media, has served as a glimmer of hope for a city caught in tragedy.

“It’s one shining moment in an absolutely game-changing, abysmal, horrific day in the city of Toronto,” McCormack said in a phone interview Tuesday. “The one … positive to take away from that day was his behaviour.”

With the city still on edge following Monday’s midday massacre, many social media users have hailed the officer as a paragon of restraint in the face of abject terror based on footage of his tense standoff with the alleged driver. It happened not far from the stretch of Yonge Street where a man driving a van killed 10 people and injured 15 others.

Related: 10 killed, 15 injured after van hits pedestrians in Toronto

In one of the videos, a man, asking to be killed, stands by a damaged white rental van and points a dark object towards the officer.

The officer refuses to shoot and repeatedly yells for the man to get down.

The suspect warns he has a gun in his pocket.

“Shoot me in the head,” the man can be heard saying.

From a highrise window, another video appears to show the suspect walking backwards with his arms raised as the officer moves towards him.

The suspect eventually goes to the ground and street-level footage shows the officer kneeling over him as he lies on the pavement.

“It could have gone either way. Any time if that threat escalated, we could have had a different outcome,” McCormack said of the arrest.

“He reacted to what he was seeing, what his training taught him, and we’re extremely proud of him. He may have prevented additional deaths.”

McCormack said the officer was one of many first responders who ran towards the danger as the van mounted the sidewalk between Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue.

Officers pushed pedestrians out of the van’s path, performed CPR and attended to “mangled” victims, said McCormack.

Even for seasoned officers, he said, the carnage was among the worst they had ever witnessed.

McCormack has been in touch with the unidentified arresting officer, who he said is overwhelmed with emotion, but eager to get back on the streets.

“He’s more concerned with the victims … than what he has done.”

McCormack said that while the officer maintains his actions were “no big deal,” as the adrenaline fades, he will have to face the magnitude of what he’s gone through.

He confronted a man accused in an attack that left 25 people wounded or killed, and both suspect and officer lived to tell the tale, McCormack said.

“(There’s) this whole notion that police officers go out and shoot first and ask questions later,” he said. “Many times our officers are dealing with people in situations that’s resolved in a peaceful way.

“It was demonstrated in an overwhelmingly clear fashion … what police officers are really about, and what they really do.”

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chilliwack prolific offender charged in four alleged incidents in 12 days

Branden Tanner busted for alleged smash-and-grab Nov. 30, then incidents Dec. 3, Dec. 8 and Dec. 11

Four companies vying to open cannabis stores in locations across Chilliwack

Rezoning applications for non-medical cannabis outlets pending, and some will require variances

Christmas cheer, crafts and music at Chilliwack and Yarrow libraries

Make festive ornaments out of old books while enjoying Christmas music at Chilliwack libraries

Sardis Falcons top Heritage Woods in field lacrosse opener

The Falcons rallied from a halftime hole to take a big win on the road in Port Moody.

Fleeing driver picks fight with Chilliwack police dog, loses

Good dog ‘Griff’ also locates large quantity of what police believe to be crystal meth in Abbotsford

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

MAP: Christmas light displays in the Lower Mainland

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read