Online post suggests rampage suspect have may resented women

blackjackTORONTO (AP) – The suspect in the deadly van attack in Toronto posted a chilling Facebook message just minutes before plowing into a crowded city sidewalk, authorities said Tuesday, raising the possibility that he may have nursed grudges against women – a possible echo of a 1989 massacre of 14 women that remains one of Canada’s most traumatic acts of violence.

The 25-year-old suspect, Alek Minassian, was charged Tuesday with first degree murder in the deaths of 10 pedestrians he mowed down in the rented van he sent careening along the busy walkway. Fourteen others were injured.

Toronto Police Services Det. Sgt. Graham Gibson told a news conference most of those killed and injured were women, though he said investigators have not yet determined whether they were targeted for that reason and declined to discuss a possible motive.

Sean O’Keefe and his son Fionn, 16 months, bring flowers to a memorial on Yonge Street Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Toronto, the day after a driver drove a van down sidewalks, striking and killing numerous pedestrians in his path. (Galit Rodan/The Canadian Press via AP)

“All the lanes are open with this investigation,” said Police Chief Mark Saunders.

Authorities have not yet released a list of victims. Those known to have been killed include a 30-year-old woman from Toronto, Anne Marie D’Amico, who was active in volunteer work, as well as a female student at Seneca College, which Minassian also attended. A Jordanian citizen and two South Koreans were also among those killed.

The gender issue arose because of what police called a “cryptic” Facebook message posted by Minassian just before the incident that suggested he was part of an online community angry over their inability to form relationships with women.

The now-deleted post saluted Elliot Rodger, a community college student who killed six people and wounded 13 in shooting and stabbing attacks near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2014.

Calling Rodger “the Supreme Gentleman,” the Facebook post declared: “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys!”

Rodger had used the term “incel” – for involuntarily celibate – in online posts raging at women for rejecting him romantically. Like-minded people in internet forums sometimes use “Chad” and “Stacy” as dismissive slang for men and women with more robust sex lives.

The anti-women sentiment recalled the 1989 massacre at the Ecole Polytechnique, an engineering college in Montreal, when 25-year-old Marc Lepine entered a classroom, separated the men from the women, told the men to leave and opened fire, killing 14 women before killing himself. In a suicide note, he blamed feminists for ruining his life.

Since then, there have been sporadic mass shootings in Canada, but none with a higher death toll – reinforcing the view among many Canadians that their country is less violent than the United States.

“Canadians don’t know who they are, but they know who they are not – they’re not Americans,” said Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto. “They perceive that Canada, relative to the U.S., is a peaceable kingdom.”

“This isn’t to say everything’s hunky dory in Canada,” Wiseman added. “But we don’t have this constant string of mass shootings that keep happening, and then nothing changes.”

Wendy Cukier, a professor of justice studies at Toronto’s Ryerson University and president of Canada’s Coalition for Gun Control, said Canada may avoid some types of violence because its social programs are stronger than those in many U.S. states and it has less income inequality. But the main difference, she contends, is tighter gun regulations in Canada.

“If you take guns out of the mix, Canada and the U.S. are identical,” she said, citing statistics indicating the two countries have similar rates of non-firearm homicides.

Although police say Monday’s rampage does not appear linked to international terrorism, the use of a vehicle to kill mirrored tactics used by terrorists in France, Germany, Spain, New York City and elsewhere.

Since 2014, there have been at least two terror-related cases in Canada of vehicles being used as weapons – they caused several injuries and one death. But overall, Canada has been spared high-casualty terror attacks; its most striking incidents of violence over the past 50 years have varied widely in nature.

In 2014 a Muslim-Canadian gunman killed a member of the honor guard at Ottawa’s national war memorial, then stormed Parliament, where he was shot dead by a sergeant-at arms. Last year, a French-Canadian man shot dead six Muslim men during evening prayers at a mosque in Quebec City. Back in 1972, 37 people died in a Montreal cafe deliberately set on fire by three men who had been refused entry.

In Toronto, Canadian rapper Maestro Fresh Wes returned Tuesday to the scene of the rampage, pausing by a newly erected memorial. Wes, who lives nearby, was strolling down Yonge Street, heading to his barber to get a haircut when he saw a body bag on the ground.

“Yesterday was the most beautiful day of the year and then look what happened,” he said. “Toronto is a safe city but things could happen anywhere. When these things happen, you have to reflect.”

Also revisiting the site was Saman Tabasinejad, a New Democrat Party politician who was canvassing in the area when the attack occurred.

“I saw shattered glass everywhere, a fire hydrant knocked over and then five body bags,” she said. “People were holding others and I saw solidarity all over, people trying to help others.”

“When something like this happens, you think people are going to run away from the tragedy but people didn’t, they ran towards it to try to help others,” she added. “It shows that something like this could happen at the hands of one person, but so many more stand against it and show their humanity.”

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Crary reported from New York. Associated Press writer Ben Fox in Miami contributed to this report.

In this courtroom sketch, Duty counsel Georgia Koulis, from left, Alek Minassian, Justice of the Peace Stephen Waisberg, and Crown prosecutor Joe Callaghan appear in court in Toronto on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Alek Minassian, who plowed a van into a crowded Toronto sidewalk, was ordered held Tuesday on 10 counts of murder and 13 of attempted murder. (Alexandra Newbould/The Canadian Press via AP)

Vahe Minassian, father of Alek Minassian, is surrounded by members of the media as he leaves court with a police escort in Toronto on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Alek Minassian, who plowed a van into a crowded Toronto sidewalk Monday was ordered held Tuesday on 10 counts of murder 13 of attempted murder. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

Flowers and signs fill a memorial along Yonge Street Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Toronto, the day after a driver drove a van down sidewalks, striking and killing numerous pedestrians in his path. (Galit Rodan/The Canadian Press via AP)

Workers collect debris along Yonge Street the day after a driver drove a van down sidewalks, striking pedestrians in his path in Toronto, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. (Galit Rodan/The Canadian Press via AP)

Vahe Minassian, father of Alek Minassian, leaves court with a police escort in Toronto on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Alek Minassian, who plowed a van into a crowded Toronto sidewalk Monday was ordered held Tuesday on 10 counts of murder 13 of attempted murder. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks about yesterday’s incident involving pedestrians being struck by a van in Toronto, in the Foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Ottawa, Ontario. “We cannot as Canadians choose to live in fear every single day as we go about our daily business,” Trudeau said. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)

Bouquets of flowers are placed at a makeshift memorial to the victims as a woman writes her condolences after a van mounted a sidewalk crashing into pedestrians in Toronto on Monday, April 23, 2018. The rented van jumped onto the crowded sidewalk Monday, killing and injuring people before the driver fled and was quickly arrested in a confrontation with police, Canadian authorities said. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press via AP)

A worker pressure sprays water where one pharmacy of the victims was killed along Yonge Street the day after a driver drove a van down sidewalks, striking pedestrians in his path in Toronto, Tuesday, April 24, 2018 (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

A police officer steps out of the Toronto area home of Alek Minassian in Richmond Hill, Ont., on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Minassian, accused of driving a van into pedestrians along a stretch of a busy Toronto street, has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

Police cars remain parked outside of of the Toronto area home of Alek Minassian in Richmond Hill, Ont., on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Minassian, accused of driving a van into pedestrians along a stretch of a busy Toronto street, has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

A man writes a note at a memorial on Yonge Street the day after a driver drove a van down sidewalks, striking pedestrians in his path in Toronto, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. (Galit Rodan/The Canadian Press via AP)

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