AC­CUSED IN VAN AT­TACK WAS IN THE MIL­I­TARY FOR TWO MONTHS.

RAM­PAGE AC­CUSED SHOWED SIGNS OF A TROU­BLED LIFE

Edmonton Journal - - NP - ADRIAN HUMPHREYS AND JAKE EDMISTON

PAGE NP3

The dis­tress­ing scope of crim­i­nal al­le­ga­tions against Alek Mi­nas­sian were re­vealed in a packed Toronto court­room — 10 counts of first-de­gree mur­der and 13 counts of at­tempted mur­der — as glimpses of the man and a pos­si­ble mo­tive emerged af­ter a rental van mowed through pedes­tri­ans along Toronto’s Yonge Street.

Just min­utes be­fore the van started its aw­ful ram­page along the side­walks of one of Canada’s best known streets, de­lib­er­ately strik­ing pedes­tri­ans, Mi­nas­sian posted a “cryp­tic mes­sage” on Face­book, said Toronto po­lice Det.-Sgt. Gra­ham Gib­son.

The mes­sage says: “Pri­vate (Re­cruit) Mi­nas­sian In­fantry 00010, wish­ing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The In­cel Re­bel­lion has al­ready be­gun! We will over­throw all the Chads and Sta­cys! All hail Supreme Gentle­man El­liot Rodger!”

De­cod­ing the post sug­gests a spark for the deadly trek may have been frus­tra­tion over an in­abil­ity to at­tract fe­male com­pan­ion­ship. The ma­jor­ity of the vic­tims struck by the van were women.

At 25, Mi­nas­sian, who lived with his par­ents and brother in a de­tached two­s­torey home in sub­ur­ban Rich­mond Hill, just north of Toronto, is var­i­ously de­scribed as a failed soldier who dropped out of ba­sic train­ing, a so­cially awk­ward stu­dent in a spe­cial needs class in high school where he was known for act­ing like a cat, a long-stand­ing col­lege stu­dent, a com­puter whiz and app de­vel­oper, video game en­thu­si­ast and a self­de­clared “in­cel.”

It is his ap­par­ent em­brace of the in­cel move­ment that helps de­ci­pher his odd Face­book post, which Face­book has con­firmed as a le­git­i­mate post from Mi­nas­sian’s ac­count that has since been taken down by the com­pany.

“In­cel,” or “in­vol­un­tary celi­bate,” came into wide recog­ni­tion in 2014 af­ter El­liot Rodger, 22, killed six and in­jured 14 in Isla Vista, Calif., be­fore killing him­self. In a man­i­festo, he said he needed to pun­ish women for re­ject­ing him and sex­u­ally ac­tive men for their suc­cess where he failed.

Within the in­cel sub­cul­ture, which typ­i­cally veers to­wards deep misog­yny, “Chads” re­fer to the sex­u­ally suc­cess­ful men and “Sta­cys” to unattain­able women.

As news of Mi­nas­sian’s con­nec­tion spread, some self-pro­fessed in­cels em­braced it as a call to arms.

Some mem­bers of an in­celded­i­cated fo­rum branded him “Saint Alek” and “St. Mi­nas­sian.” Some sug­gested other ways to con­tinue the at­tacks so the world of the sex­u­ally ac­tive would fear them.

“It is a good time to be an in­cel. Our brothers are launch­ing their counter-at­tack, get­ting their re­venge. Thank you,” one post reads. “They should be scared, this is what hap­pens when you deny so many men love and af­fec­tion for their en­tire lives,” said an­other.

Those who knew Mi­nas­sian per­son­ally, if not well, did not pin him as a vi­o­lent char­ac­ter. Odd­ball, chal­lenged, awk­ward, weird, in­fan­tilized, but not vi­o­lent.

When Mi­nas­sian was a stu­dent at Thorn­lea Se­condary School in nearby Thorn­hill, Ont., he stood out for his un­ortho­dox be­hav­iour.

“I had classes with him. He was men­tally un­sta­ble back then. He was known to meow like a cat and try to bite peo­ple; this is one sad and con­fus­ing story,” Alexan­der Alexan­drovitch said of his for­mer class­mate in a Face­book post.

Mi­nas­sian was “never in­ten­tion­ally vi­o­lent” in school, he added.

Reza Fakhteh de­scribed Mi­nas­sian as a spe­cial education stu­dent who rarely so­cial­ized and had no ob­vi­ous friends.

“I never heard him speak be­yond me­ow­ing at peo­ple,” Fakhteh wrote in a Face­book mes­sage. “His move­ments were er­ratic and just strange over­all. He acted like a cat in every way.”

Ari Blaff, an­other for­mer class­mate said he was “an odd guy.”

“He had sev­eral tics and would some­times grab the top of his shirt and spit on it, meow in the hall­ways and say, ‘I am afraid of girls.’ It was like a mantra.”

While in high school, he was an avid video gamer. A defunct Steam ac­count — a video game soft­ware plat­form — that ap­pears to be Mi­nas­sian’s says he is bet­ter at shoot­ing games than strat­egy games.

Provin­cial records show the house be­longs to Vahe and Sona Mi­nas­sian. They bought the prop­erty in 1998 for $330,000. In a story pub­lished in 2009, a woman named Sona Mi­nas­sian praised a lo­cal pro­gram for spe­cial-needs chil­dren. The story said her son, who isn’t named, lived “with a form of autism known as Asperger’s syn­drome.”

In 2011, af­ter high school grad­u­a­tion, Mi­nas­sian en­rolled at Seneca Col­lege in Toronto. A staff mem­ber at Seneca who had a few en­coun­ters with Mi­nas­sian sev­eral years ago said he seemed to strug­gle with so­cial in­ter­ac­tion.

“He could have sort of nor­mal con­ver­sa­tion, but you could tell it wasn’t his strength,” said the staff mem­ber, who did not wish to be named. “It’s com­pletely sur­real to re­al­ize you know some­one who (al­legedly) killed 10 peo­ple.”

One of the vic­tims was a stu­dent at Seneca. Mi­nas­sian’s LinkedIn page lists him as en­rolled at Seneca from 2011 to 2018.

Re­cently, Mi­nas­sian joined the Cana­dian Armed Forces. A Depart­ment of Na­tional De­fence spokesper­son said he joined the army on Aug. 23, 2017, started his ba­sic train­ing at the mil­i­tary fa­cil­ity at Saint-Jean-surRiche­lieu, Que., in Septem­ber and left the mil­i­tary on Oct. 25.

He had not pro­gressed to weapons train­ing by the time he was re­leased.

His brief stint in the mil­i­tary also may shed light on his cryp­tic Face­book post. He iden­ti­fied him­self as “Pri­vate (Re­cruit) Mi­nas­sian In­fantry 00010” — that would have been his rank as a newly re­cruited soldier and 00010 is the mil­i­tary’s des­ig­na­tion for an in­fantry­man.

Neigh­bours said they did not know the fam­ily well but of­ten saw them while out and about.

Elaha Ja­mal, who lives nearby, said it was as if the par­ents had to su­per­vise Mi­nas­sian and his brother con­stantly, and would not let them roam free, some­times even hold­ing his brother by the shirt at the scruff of the neck.

“They were not OK,” she said. “They were an older cou­ple but they took care of th­ese boys like they were ba­bies.”

PRI­VATE (RE­CRUIT) MI­NAS­SIAN IN­FANTRY 00010, WISH­ING TO SPEAK TO SGT 4CHAN PLEASE. C23249161. THE IN­CEL RE­BEL­LION HAS AL­READY BE­GUN! WE WILL OVER­THROW ALL THE CHADS AND STA­CYS! ALL HAIL SUPREME GENTLE­MAN EL­LIOT RODGER!

— MI­NAS­SIAN’S FACE­BOOK PAGE

PHO­TOS: PETER J THOMP­SON / NA­TIONAL POST

Vahe Mi­nas­sian, the fa­ther of the man ac­cused in Mon­day’s van ram­page, is es­corted by Toronto po­lice from the court­house on Tues­day af­ter his son Alek’s first court ap­pear­ance.

The Toronto-area home of Alek Mi­nas­sian, the man ac­cused in Mon­day’s van ram­page that killed 10 peo­ple.

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