The stabbings took place at 4900 Yonge Street in the city’s north end just after 3:30 p.m. yesterday. The Joseph P. Shepard building is a federal government building that houses a passport office, a military recruitment center, and other government offices.
It is alleged a 27-year-old man entered the building, walked up to a uniformed member of the Canadian Forces who was behind a counter and stabbed him. The man then walked behind the counter where other uniformed soldiers were.
The other soldiers were able to use their training and subdue the man. In the course of apprehending and holding him, another soldier was stabbed. The stabbings were completely unprovoked.
Both members of the Canadian Forces sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The unidentified man was taken to hospital to be checked out and is expected to appear in court today.
At a press conference held a few hours after the double stabbing, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said during the course of being apprehended, the man made certain comments that “caused concern.” While Saunders would not reveal exactly what was said, the Toronto Sun reports sources said the man said, “Allah” or “praise Allah.”
The RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Ontario Provincial Police have all been called in to aid in the investigation.
While Saunders will not call what happened “an act of terror,” the chief said a possible link to terrorism will be “strongly examined.”
Ralph Goodale, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, issued a statement last night saying information from the RCMP suggests this was an “isolated incident” and the public has no cause for concern. The Department of National Defence also issued a statement saying no suspicious activity was noticed prior to the mid-afternoon double stabbing. The department also thanked Toronto first responders for their support of the soldiers.
If what happened turns out to be terrorism it will not be the first time similar attacks have taken place in Canada. In 2014, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run over by a car and killed by a radicalized Muslim in the parking lot of a strip mall that contained a military recruitment office. The mall is located just outside Montreal. Later that year, Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed by another radicalized Muslim as he stood guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier just outside the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.
More information about the double stabbing is expected to be made public today.