‘I accomplished my mission,’ accused in Toronto van attack told police

Transcript and video of the police interview were released Friday following a successful legal challenge

‘I accomplished my mission,’ accused in Toronto van attack told police

Hours after driving a rented van down a busy Toronto sidewalk killing 10 people and injuring 16 others, Alek Minassian described himself to police as a 25-year-old virgin seeking retribution for years of sexual rejection and ridicule by women.

As a college student, he said he was ”crushed” when he asked a woman out and she turned him down. But the disappointment morphed into anger at a college Halloween party in 2013.

“I walked in and attempted to socialize with some girls, however, they all laughed at me and held the arms of the big guys,” Minassian, of Richmond Hill, Ont., told Det. Rob Thomas during a four-hour interview inside a north Toronto police station.

“I was angry that they would give their love and affection to obnoxious brutes,” he said.

The transcript and video of the police interview were released Friday following a successful legal challenge by several media organizations, including The Canadian Press, to have the publication ban lifted.

Minassian, now 26, is facing a judge-alone trial in February 2020 on 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. His state of mind at the time of the incident is expected to be the central issue at trial.

The April 23, 2018, incident — known as the Yonge Street van attack — made international headlines and triggered a public conversation about the so-called “incel movement,” a fringe internet subculture that attracts males who are involuntarily celibate.

It was in the bowels of the internet that Minassian said he discovered like-minded men who hated women, including two Americans who went on to commit mass murders.

READ MORE: Witnesses still struggling one year after deadly Yonge Street van attack in Toronto

As an incel, he saw himself as someone at the bottom rung of society, and on a spring day last year, he said he decided to take action.

“I’m thinking that this is it, this is the day of retribution,” a calm Minassian — dressed in a white jump suit with white booties — tells Thomas. ”I was driving down Yonge because I knew it would be a busy area and then as soon as I saw the pedestrians, I just decided to go for it.”

At the beginning of the interview, Thomas, a senior investigative interviewer with the Toronto police sex crimes unit, walks into the room, hands Minassian a bottle of water and then shakes his hand.

“You probably had better days than this I guess, eh?” Thomas says.

“Yeah,” Minassian replies. ”Well I am a little shaken to be honest … it’s not my usual day, obviously.”

Thomas, dressed in a dark suit, sits down about a metre away from Minassian.

“I want to talk to you,” Thomas says. “We’re going to spend a good deal of time together.”

At first, Minassian is reluctant to answer many questions, but slowly he opens up.

He talks about feeling lonely and looking for friends on social media platforms and online forums such as Reddit and 4Chan. He explains in chilling detail how people like him would take the power by killing “alpha males,” known in the community as Chads, so that women, whom they call Staceys, would date incels.

“It’s basically a movement of angry incels such as myself who are unable to get laid,” Minassian says. ”We want to overthrow the Chads, which would force the Staceys to be forced to reproduce with the incels.”

Minassian goes on to tell Thomas about his online chats with Elliot Rodger and Chris Harper-Mercer. Rodger, 22, killed six people and injured 14 others in Isla Vista, Calif., on May 23, 2014, before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. In a video and written document, he called his attack retribution against women and the men who date them.

Harper-Mercer, 26, shot and killed nine people at his college in Oregon on Oct. 1, 2015, before killing himself. In a manifesto, he described a lonely existence as a virgin and called other mass shooters, including Rodger, gods.

Despite engaging in online chats about the incel movement, Minassian says he didn’t plan any concrete action until about a month before the Yonge Street attack.

He says he booked a rental van in early April, opting for the vehicle because “it was larger than a car, therefore large enough to be effective but not so large that it made manoeuvrability hard.”

Minassian tells the detective he had just completed a software development degree at Toronto’s Seneca College and was looking for work.

He chose April 23, he says, because he “felt it would be more symbolic if I had completed my exams.”

The morning of the attack, Minassian says he checked his email for job offers, went for a walk around the Richmond Hill, Ont., neighbourhood where he lived with his parents, and spent a few hours playing video games. He then picked up the van shortly before 1 p.m.

Once inside the van, he says he posted a message on Facebook.

“The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Staceys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” he wrote.

He then started driving, stopped at a red light at Yonge Street and Finch Avenue, and says he knew it was time. When the light turned green, Minassian says he accelerated and aimed at pedestrians.

“I speed the van towards them and I allow the van to collide with them,” he says. “Some people get knocked down on the way, some people roll over the top of the van.”

Minassian says he continued to use the van “as a weapon” until something obscured his view.

“The only reason I stopped my attack was because someone’s drink got splashed on my windshield and I was worried that I would crash,” he says. “I wanted to do more but I’ve kind of been foiled by a lack of visibility.”

Minassian says then he pulled into a side street, saw police approaching and got out of the van. His plan, he says, was to get shot and killed by police.

He pointed his wallet at Const. Ken Lam hoping the officer would confuse it for a gun and shoot him. Videos of the tense encounter taken by witnesses showed the lone officer single-handedly handcuffing Minassian without firing a shot.

As the interview wraps, the detective asks Minassian how he felt about those who died or were hurt in the van attack.

“I feel like I accomplished my mission,” Minassian says.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some of the hundreds of pounds of trash removed by divers last month from Abbotsford’s Walmsley Lake.(Henry Wang photo)
VIDEO: Divers remove 462 pounds of trash from Abbotsford lake

Walmsley Lake dive uncovers several tires, hundreds of drink containers and a tent

Comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham is scheduled to bring his Seriously? tour to Abbotsford Centre on Nov. 4 after it was cancelled twice in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Jeff Dunham’s ‘Seriously?’ tour rescheduled for Abbotsford Centre

Show set for Nov. 4 after twice being cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
Harrison woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Once a star player with the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team, Kayli Sartori is moving into a new role coaching the next generation of Cascades. (UFV photo)
Chilliwack’s Kayli Sartori goes from court to coach with UFV basketball Cascades

Sartori is taking a new path as part of the U-Sports female basketball apprentice coaching program

Once again Fraser East is among the health service delivery areas with the highest rate of COVID-19 transmission in the province. (Datawrapper)
Fraser East sees third highest rate of COVID-19 cases in B.C.

The region is seeing a sustained increase in new COVID-19 cases

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complains about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

Most Read