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Toronto police officer hailed as hero for arresting suspect without firing shot

Unidentified officer arrested 25-year Alek Minassian after white van ploughed into pedestrians, killing 10 and leaving dozens injured

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Toronto police officer hailed as hero for arresting suspect without firing shot” was written by Ashifa Kassam in Toronto, for The Guardian on Tuesday 24th April 2018 19.37 UTC

A Canadian police officer is being hailed for the restraint and professionalism he showed in arresting the suspect in the Toronto van attack without firing a single shot.

On Monday afternoon, a white van ploughed into pedestrians along one of Toronto’s busiest streets, killing 10 people and injuring more than a dozen others in what one official described as “pure carnage”.

Soon after, the alleged driver of the van was arrested by a lone police officer in a confrontation lasting less than a minute and caught on video by bystanders.

“Get down,” the officer, identified by sources as Ken Lam, shouts repeatedly.

“Kill me,” the man responds. “I have a gun in my pocket.”

Lam’s voice remains calm as he again orders the man to get down, warning that he will shoot if the man does not cooperate. “Shoot me in the head,” the suspect replies.

The officer then begins advancing towards the suspect. The suspect steps backwards, dropping what he was holding and raising his hands in the air. Lam proceeds to single-handedly arrest the suspect.

The arrest came as police forces across North America – including in Toronto – have been criticised for using excessive force to subdue mentally ill or unarmed suspects.

Police identified Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old from the nearby town of Richmond Hill, as the man who had been arrested. He appeared in court on Tuesday, charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Officials refused to comment on a motive, but said the suspect did not represent a threat to national security.

Video of the dramatic confrontation between the suspect and the police officer was hailed on social media, where praise poured in for Lam.

Many said he deserved a medal. A columnist for Maclean’s magazine contrasted Lam’s calm demeanor with the chaos and horror that had unfolded minutes earlier. “I am paid to explain things and sound confident doing so,” he wrote. “But I honestly don’t know what to make of this terrifying, remarkable moment.”

Mark Saunders, the city’s police chief, credited the force’s high calibre of training. “The officer did a fantastic job with respect to utilising his ability of understanding the circumstance and environment and having a peaceful resolution at the end of the day,” he said.

Mike McCormack, the president of the Toronto Police Association, said Lam – a constable who has been with the force for more than seven years – would have been justified if he had decided to fire at the suspect. “He was constantly assessing, constantly watching what was going on and determined he could handle it the way that he did,” he said. “People are right: this guy is a hero.”

He had spoken to Lam, who was left shaken. “It’s stressful enough when you’re confronting somebody who is trying to get you to kill them,” said McCormack. “And then you add the layer that this person that you’re dealing with has just murdered 10 innocent people, injured another 15. It really is sinking in with him right now.”

As commendations poured in from the around the world, Lam’s focus was on the many residents affected by the attack. “He was more concerned about the victims. He was devastated when we kept hearing the casualties going up, as we all were. It was a horrific scene,” said McCormack. “He said ‘Mike, I followed my experience and my training. Okay I made this arrest, which is great, but I’m just doing my job.’”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Police step up patrols in London as spate of violent crime continues

Extra patrols working on bank holiday as mother of latest victim calls for end to violence

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Met steps up patrols amid series of violent incidents across UK” was written by Jamie Grierson, for The Guardian on Monday 7th May 2018 15.19 UTC

The Metropolitan police increased the number of police officers on the streets over the bank holiday weekend as London’s violent crimewave showed no signs of abating, with one teenager shot dead and another caught in crossfire in a separate incident. There were also a number of violent incidents in other parts of the country.

As temperatures hit record levels for the early May bank holiday, the Met grappled with shootings, stabbings and acid attacks across the city.

The recently appointed home secretary, Sajid Javid, vowed to work with anyone determined to tackle serious violence, while the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, hit out at the failure of government ministers to tackle the problem.

Javid, whose predecessor, Amber Rudd, unveiled a serious violence strategy as one of her final acts as home secretary, tweeted: “Appalling to hear about children being killed and injured on our streets this bank holiday. Serious violence is robbing too many young people of their futures. I will work with anyone determined to tackle it.”

The Met said extra patrols would be working on Monday to keep the capital’s streets safe after a series of incidents on Saturday and Sunday.

knife crime locations in London

Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton, 17, was killed on Saturday. Paramedics and police were called to reports of gunshots on Cook’s Road in Kennington, south London, just after 6pm. Rhyhiem was found on nearby Warham Street with a gunshot injury.

His mother, Pretana Morgan, called for the violence to end. “Let my son be the last and be an example to everyone,” she said. “Just let it stop. What must be, must be.

“It’s not about race, it’s not about nation, it’s not about culture. Nothing. It’s just a human race. Just one human race. So children, please let my son be the last.”

She said Rhyhiem was not in a gang and he had been trying to make a difference by learning to work with children. He was also an aspiring architect. No arrests have been made in connection with his death.

On Sunday a 13-year-old boy was struck in the head by shotgun pellets as he walked along a street with his parents in Wealdstone, north-west London. Police said they believed the teenager was an innocent bystander after a 15-year-old boy was attacked nearby.

Both teenagers suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and the younger one has been released from hospital. Officers have been made aware of a possible third victim who may have been at the scene with the 15-year-old.

DCS Simon Rose, the Harrow borough commander, said: “This was a callous, reckless and brazen act, without any thought by those responsible for the fact that there were families with children and people in the high street enjoying their weekend. This was quite simply appalling.”

In east London, a man believed to be 17 years old was taken to an east London hospital after being stabbed on Leytonstone Road. His condition was initially deemed critical, police said, but is now thought to be not life-threatening. His family has been informed and detectives from Newham CID are investigating.

A 43-year-old man was also stabbed in Perivale, in north west London, after a dispute about driving.

Police said the man was attacked on Buckingham Avenue at around 9pm on Sunday after a number of residents questioned a man in a blue car about the nature of his driving in the small residential street.

Three people were injured in a “noxious substance” incident after an altercation between two groups in east London at around 5.20am on Sunday.

Police are investigating whether the men, aged 22 and 27, and a 17-year-old boy suffered life-changing injuries in the incident in Shacklewell Lane, Hackney.

In another incident in south-east London on Sunday, police were flagged down by a member of the public in New Cross Road just before 6.30pm, where they found a 22-year-old man with gunshot wounds. He was taken by ambulance to a central London hospital where his condition was not life-threatening, according to Scotland Yard.

Police said: “At this early stage, it is believed that two male suspects riding one moped shot the victim … Officers retain an open mind as to any motive.”

Outside the capital, two men died in stabbings in Liverpool and Luton during the bank holiday weekend. Fatah Warsame, 20, from Cardiff, died after being stabbed in Liverpool city centre early on Sunday morning. On Sunday evening a 20-year-old man was killed in Bishopscote Road, Luton.

In Macclesfield, a 37-year-old man died after suffering knife injuries on Sunday evening. Cheshire police said a 15-year-old boy and 29-year-old man were arrested as part of their investigation into the incident.

Rudd launched the serious violence strategy last month amid controversy over the potential link between dwindling police numbers and the rise in crime. The strategy is to be backed by £40m of Home Office funding and a new offensive weapons bill to ban the sale of corrosive liquids to under-18s and introduce tougher restrictions on buying knives online. It will focus heavily on the links between illegal drug markets, particularly for crack cocaine, and violent crime.

Khan, who has faced criticism from some for the increase in violence since he became London mayor, said he was “doing all I can to compensate for the failure of government ministers” on the issue.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Crime

Explosion in Westchester Heights, New York

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An explosion in Westchester Heights, New York has injured at least one person.

Suspicious package found near scene, bomb squad are en route to scene.

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Crime

Shots fired at shopping mall in Nashville

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Metro Nashville Police Department officials have responded to a shooting call at Opry Mills Mall.

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