Toronto van suspect charged with 10 counts of murder

A 25-year-old who plowed a van into a crowded Toronto sidewalk was ordered held Tuesday on 10 counts of murder 13 of attempted murder.

While the worst mass killing in Canada in decades has the hallmarks of other deadly vehicle assaults by Islamic State group supporters in the United States and Europe, officials said it did not represent a threat to national security.

Suspect Alek Minassian entered a Toronto courtroom on Tuesday morning. His head was shaved and he was looking down as prosecutors announced they were charging him with 10 counts of first-degree murder.

Police believe Minassian took advantage of the busy sidewalks and intentionally drove the van over a curb and into the pedestrians, authorities said. Video of his arrest shows him begging police officers to kill him.

The proceedings began after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the attack outside of Parliament in Ottawa, calling on all Canadians to stand united with Toronto.

"We cannot as Canadians choose to live in fear every single day as we go about our daily business," Mr Trudeau said.

"We need to focus on doing what we can and we must to keep Canadians safe while we stay true to the freedoms and values that we all as Canadians hold dear."

The Prime Minister said that, while it would take time before the motives of the attacker were understood, the incident had not changed the country's threat level or security preparations for a G7 summit in Quebec in June.

Minassian lives just a few short miles from the crime scene. He goes to school nearby. His family is Armenian.

Police said there is no sense that Minassian was radicalized in any way. What they do say is he is socially awkward.

Officials know he was researching and chatting online about the Isla Vista massacre. Elliot Rodger killed six and injured 14 in a drive-by shooting and vehicle ramming attack near the UC Santa Barbara campus in Isla Vista, California in 2014.

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