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

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

RCMP to review actions at Wet’suwet’en pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

‘Tripod’ delays access to Unist’ot’en camp

Social media rumours of cultural significance quashed, meaning police “exclusion zones” should end.

Hereditary chiefs negotiate injunction agreement

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs abide by interim injunction, but gate stays up. Still opposed.

College of New Caledonia wants public’s input on budget

A public consultation will be held Feb. 1 at 4 p.m. at Vanderhoof Campus

First Nation supporters march to Horgan’s MLA office

Dozens marched across the Greater Victoria community of Langford to support the Wet’suwet’en people

Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson ‘feeling good’ after knee injury

Pettersson said he wasn’t feeling any pain during Wednesday’s skate

Ratfish generates social media buzz on Vancouver Island

Boneless, glowing creature a common bycatch, but it usually stays in deep waters – fish expert

UPDATE: Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Pregnant B.C. firefighter tries to save own house that caught fire

Julia Flinton and Anthony Sellars both worked on the 2017 wildfires

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Most Read