Yesterday morning, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders held another press conference concerning the stabbings of Canadian Forces members at a North York federal government building. The Chief gave new information about the incident including the suspect’s name and the charges he is facing.
On Monday afternoon, a 27-year-old man went to the Joseph P. Shepard Building located at 4900 Yonge Street in Toronto. He approached a uniformed soldier who was at the counter of the Canadian Forces recruitment center and slashed him on the arm. The man then went behind the counter where other military personnel were and those soldiers were able to subdue him and hold him until police arrived.
The suspect was identified as Ayanle Hassan Ali, of Toronto. According to Saunders, he is a Canadian citizen born in Montreal and has been living in Toronto since 2011. He has no previous criminal record.
The chief told the media that shortly after the attack Ali had said, “Allah told me to do this. Allah told me to come here and kill people.”
The 27-year-old was originally charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count each of attempted murder, weapons dangerous and aggravated assault. Later in the day yesterday the Toronto Police Service announced more charges were added after consulting with prosecutors and Ali now faces a total of nine charges. He has been charged with three counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault, three counts of assault with a weapon and one count of possession of a dangerous weapon. Saunders had said Ali attempted to stab a female soldier in the back of the recruitment center but she managed to get away unscathed.
It is not expected further charges will be laid by the Toronto police. But the investigation by CSIS and the RCMP in continuing and depending upon what investigators finds, the RCMP may lay further terrorism-related charges.
Ali made his first court appearance on the charges yesterday afternoon. The Toronto Sun quotes his lawyer, David Burke, as saying his client appears to be intelligent and is very scared and “very, very upset” at the situation he is in. Ali was described as being very quiet during his court appearance and constantly looking down at the floor. There was no mention of a psychiatric assessment at yesterday’s brief appearance.
Ali is due back in court on Friday. Burke said if he can have sufficient sureties in place, he may apply for bail for his client.