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

North Road proposal draws heat

Public meeting to address Canfor request

First farmers market fosters a sense of community

Vendors and customers alike excited for return of market

Chief Dr. Robert Joseph awarded Order of Canada

An inspiration and role model for all Canadians

Workshop to help businesses find that perfect employee

Selling location and lifestyle one strategy for success

National ecology expert holds workshop in Fort St. James

Use of natural materials vital for environmental restoration

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Transportation Minister disappointed by BC Ferries plan to remove fuel rebates

Claire Trevena says she is ‘extremely disappointed’ by a plan by BC Ferries to remove fuel rebates

B.C. sues Alberta over bill that could ‘turn oil taps off’

Lawsuit is the latest move in the two provinces’ ongoing feud over the Kinder Morgan pipeline

Liberal government introduces measures to update Canada’s family laws

Justice officials say there have not been substantial updates to federal family laws in 20 years

B.C. mom threatens legal action against sunscreen company

Caleb Jordan, 6, was covered in blisters 20 minutes after using Banana Boat sunscreen

BC Games Society president to step down

Kelly Mann says it’s time for a change after 26 years with the society

B.C. politicians framed by anonymous sticky-note doodler

Insider has been posting caricatures from the B.C. legislature to social media

27 years since initial police probe, polygamist leader to be sentenced in June

Prosecutor recommend up to 6 months jail, defence asks for conditional or absolute discharge

Governments kick in cash for B.C. farmers, food processors

Ottawa, Victoria contribute $14 million over five years to help develop new products, processes

Most Read