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 firefighters douse Yarrow shed fire

No one injured in the Tuesday afternoon blaze

Chilliwack gymnast to compete in Pan American Championships

Canadian national teamer Zachary Clay travels to Peru in September for international competition.

Harv Westeringh announces run for Chilliwack council

The local realtor/builder has strong interest in municipal issues and fiscal responsibility

Night patrol on Chilliwack waters leads DFO to seize 48 sockeye and harbour seal from poachers

Charges pending after two poachers arrested for fishing at night

Highway 7 down to one-lane alternating as crews fight Mt. Hicks wildfire

150-hectare blaze prompted closure of a provincial park

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Hot, dry conditions forces drought rating to highest level on Vancouver Island

The province says Vancouver Island is under Stage 4 drought conditions

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike

Wildfire smoke blankets B.C. and Alberta, prompting air quality advisories

About 25 new wildfires were sparked between Monday morning and midday Tuesday

Big bucks for painting of small B.C. town

A 1965 painting of Ashcroft by E. J. Hughes exceeded its pre-auction estimate at a recent sale.

Most Read