THE first of 10 people killed in the Toronto van attack has been identified.
Anne-Marie D’Amico worked at the Canadian headquarters of US-based investment firm Invesco, located near the 2.2 kilometre stretch where Alek Minassian allegedly ploughed a rented van into a lunch-hour crowd, killing 10 people and injuring 15.
Peter Intraligi, president of Invesco Canada, confirmed D’Amico’s death to Canadian news outlet CBC.
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those impacted by this tragic event,” Intraligi said.
“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.”
D’Amico’s colleague at Invesco, Jon Tam, said she was “full of life, loved to travel, loved to help volunteer.”
“She was a very warm, friendly presence in the office. Always smiling,” he told CBC’s Metro Morning.
Abdullah Snobar, the executive director of Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone, told CTV news he knew D’Amico from when she studied there.
He said D’Amico, who he thought was about 29, was a “shining light” and incredible, incredible human being.”
“One of the most happiest and cheerful people you will ever meet,” he said.
“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.”
Mourners have been paying their respect to the victims at a makeshift memorial set up across the street from where the van first mounted the curb. An evening vigil was held on Monday night, hours after the horrific event unfolded.
“It was like he was playing a video game, trying to kill as many people as possible,” Panna Patel, 42, who stopped by the memorial and had been at the scene a day earlier, getting cash from an ATM as it occurred, told AP.
“He was looking people directly in the eye, making eye contact, it was so scary. He wasn’t remorseful at all.”
Minassian appeared in a Toronto court the morning after the incident and was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.
First degree murder carries a life sentence in Canada. He will reappear in court on May 10.
An elderly man sat silently in court with tears running down his face as Minassian appeared.
He was mobbed by a large media pack as he left court. When asked if he had any message to Toronto, he quietly said “sorry”.
There is still no indication of a motive for yesterday’s attack, which left a 2km path of destruction down one of Toronto’s busiest streets.
Authorities continue to play down any connections to terrorism.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed the possibility of terrorism, saying that authorities see no national security element in the case.
He told a news conference that the incident “hasn’t changed the overall threat level in Canada,” though it occurred as Cabinet ministers from the G7 nations were meeting in Toronto.
The stretch of Yonge Street where the victims were struck remains closed to traffic and was expected to stay blocked off for several days as police continue what is likely to be a lengthy investigation.