'A shining light': Remembering the 10 victims of the Toronto van attack
Jackie Dunham and Graham Slaughter, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, April 24, 2018 9:27AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 24, 2018 9:09PM EDT
Portraits of the 10 people killed after a rental van veered onto a Toronto sidewalk and drove into pedestrians are slowly emerging as loved ones and officials identify the victims.
So far, CTV News has learned the names of four victims: Anne Marie D’Amico, a Toronto woman who family said “only had kindness in her”; Munir Abdo Habib Najjar, a Jordanian man who was visiting family in the city; Chul Min “Eddie” Kang, a chef known for his passion in the kitchen; and Dorothy Sewell, a beloved grandmother known for sharing her love of sports.
Two other victims have been identified, but not named, including a South Korean national and a female Seneca College student. Another South Korean was “seriously injured” in the deadly attack, according to South Korean media reports.
Police have not released the names of the victims, and Ontario’s chief coroner said it will take several days before officials can identify the deceased.
However, at a press conference on Tuesday, police said those killed and injured were “predominantly women.”
Two fundraisers have emerged to help support the victims and their families.
A GoFundMe page to raise money for the victims’ funeral expenses has been established by Canada Zakat, a Muslim-Canadian non-profit organization that collected more than $800,000 for the victims and families of the Quebec mosque shooting in 2017. As of Tuesday afternoon, the campaign has raised more than $100,000 of its $1 million target.
The City of Toronto has also created a fundraising campaign, called the #TorontoStrong Fund. Money raised will provide emotional support and assistance to help cover emergency expenses for survivors, their families, families of the victims, and for witnesses and their families.
An 'incredible human being’
The family of Anne Marie D’Amico said she had a “generous heart” and always did “big things” for people.
“She genuinely wanted to care for all those around her even if it meant sacrificing a portion of herself in return for others' happiness. She only had kindness in her,” her family said in a statement released on Tuesday.
The family said they’re comforted by the fact that the world has been given the opportunity to learn from D’Amico.
“Her name has been broadcasted around the world, attached to this terrible tragedy. But we want everyone to know that she embodied the definition of altruism,” the statement read. “We hope that in this time, people fight with the same altruism rather than anger and hatred.”
D’Amico worked at Invesco, a U.S.-based investment management firm, which had its Canadian headquarters in North York, a source confirmed to CP24. On Monday, the company said in a statement that two of its employees were injured during the incident.
On Tuesday morning, the president of Invesco Canada confirmed to CTV News that one of their staff members had died.
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those impacted by this tragic event,” Peter Intraligi said in an emailed statement. “I can now confirm that unfortunately one of our employees has succumbed to her injuries. Out of respect for her and her family, we will not be providing any further comments.”
Toronto Coun. Cesar Palacio identified D’Amico as one of the victims in the attack during a council meeting at city hall on Tuesday. He said he’s been in contact with her parents, who are his constituents. Palacio also said that D’Amico had a brother and a sister.
Abdullah Snobar, the executive director of Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone, knew D’Amico through the student groups she was involved in while she was studying there. He described D’Amico as a “shining light” who represented the best of Canadians.
“Anne Marie was an incredible, incredible human being. One of the most happiest and cheerful people you will ever meet,” he told CTV News Channel on Tuesday. “I had the privilege of being around her for many years and never did I see her down or sad, [she was] usually the one that was lifting people up to find their best and be their best.”
He said that he believes she was approximately 29 years old when she died and that she graduated from the school in 2010.
“[She was] an individual that we constantly talked about as a person that the country and the city needed more people like,” Snobar said. “An incredible human being that we all dearly loved and already miss.”
D’Amico also worked at the Canadian charity Live Different as well as for the Badminton and Racquet Club of Toronto, according to a Facebook profile believed to belong to her.
Tennis Canada said that D’Amico had worked at the Rogers Cup since she was 12 years old. In a statement released Tuesday, the organization said she started out working as a ball girl and worked her way up to become an “integral part” of the volunteer team. In her most recent role, she served as committee head of stadium control while she also worked at Invesco, the statement said.
“She was always smiling, had the biggest heart and always put other people’s needs ahead of her own,” Tennis Canada said.
D’Amico was voted Tennis Canada’s volunteer of the year in 2016.
“Her passion for Rogers Cup was contagious and we are honoured to let the world know what an amazing person she was and the great things she did for others,” Gavin Ziv, the vice president of professional events at Tennis Canada, said in the statement.
Tennis Canada also said that D’Amico’s grandmother, mother, father and brother have all volunteered for the organization over the years.
Chef with ‘a passion for cooking’
Chul Min “Eddie” Kang, a chef at a restaurant in Toronto’s downtown core, was remembered by his colleagues on Tuesday.
Armando Sandobal worked alongside Kang in the kitchen for four years.
“He had a passion for food. He had a passion for cooking,” Sandobal said, adding that he was “angry” by the news.
“I feel bad because he (Kang) was my partner, we worked together and then this happened.”
The Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse, located at Adelaide and Duncan, issued a statement expressing “great sadness” over Kang’s death.
“He will be deeply missed by all who knew him,” said corporate director John Paul Mannella in the statement.
‘Love you Nan’
Among the victims was 80-year-old Dorothy Sewell, whose grandson Elwood Delaney posted photos of her on Facebook alongside a Toronto Blue Jays flag and a lit candle.
In the post, Delaney expressed anger at the attacker, saying that he had to tell his three children that they’ll no longer get to talk to “Nan” on their birthdays or Christmas.
“I love you Dorothy Sewell,” he wrote. “You will always be loved and your love for sports will always be with me while I cheer with you. Go Toronto Go. Love you Nan.”
Information has also emerged about several unnamed victims. Here’s what we know about them so far:
Father visiting Canada
The Jordanian foreign ministry, quoted by local media, says that a Jordanian man has been identified as one of the van attack victims. He was visiting his son who lives in Toronto, according to the reports.
Speaking with CTV News, the Jordanian Embassy identified the victim as Munir Abdo Habib Najjar.
Information has also emerged about several unnamed victims. Here’s what we know about them so far:
Two South Koreans
Two South Koreans are dead and another one “seriously injured” in the deadly attack, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
The Seoul government announced that two South Koreans were fatally injured in the incident, the paper said. Officials said efforts were underway to find out the exact condition of the injured person.
“The foreign ministry has taken necessary steps, including contacting the families of the victims, and plans to provide relevant consular support in case the families want to visit there,” an official was quoted as saying.
The paper also reported that three other South Koreans have been unaccounted for in the aftermath of the attack.
A college student
A female student of Seneca College, located in Toronto, was also killed in the incident, according to a statement from the school.
“The Seneca community is deeply saddened by the horrific attack on Yonge Street yesterday. Our thoughts are with all those affected, including the family and friends of one of our students who died as a result of the tragic incident,” the statement read.
Victims are ‘predominantly female’
Speaking to reporters at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Toronto police Det. Sgt. Graham Gibson said the victims were “predominately female” and ranged in age from the mid-20s to 80s.
Chief Coroner for Ontario Dr. Dirk Huyer said authorities are currently working to confirm the identities of the deceased.
Fourteen people were also hurt in the incident.
A growing memorial with candles, flowers and messages of support has been set up along a wall on the east side of Yonge Street where the attack began.
The incident occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Monday, when a white rental van mounted a busy stretch of sidewalk on Yonge St., just south of Finch Ave., hitting numerous pedestrians as it drove southbound.
Shortly after, Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont., was arrested in connection with the incident after a brief standoff with police. He has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.
Police are still investigating any motive connected to the attack.
Police allege that the suspect posted a “cryptic” Facebook message minutes before carrying out the attack.
The post, which appeared on the account for a user named Alek Minassian, includes references to “the incel rebellion.” Experts say the term “incel” refers to men who are involuntarily celibate.
The post also says “We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys!” According to University of Toronto sociology professor Judith Taylor, “Chads” are considered “socially successful men” and “Stacys” are “women who are withholding their sexual opportunities from men.”
Facebook told CTV News that the post appears to have been made from the suspect’s account, which the company has since shut down. CTV News cannot conclusively confirm that Minassian himself wrote the post.
With files from CP24 and The Canadian Press