The father of a Toronto police officer who arrested the suspect in a van attack that left 10 dead and 14 injured is praising his son for doing “a good job.”
Just before 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Toronto police said 25-year-old Alek Minassian rented a van and drove it to the Yonge Street and Finch Avenue area. Det. Sgt. Graham Gibson said on Tuesday the accused drove south on Yonge Street “striking pedestrians on the sidewalk and the roadway with the vehicle.”
Minassian eventually pulled over on a side street near Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue. He was arrested by Const. Ken Lam, who is being praised for trying to de-escalate the situation and for not using a weapon. Lam could be heard on video giving direct commands to get down on the ground and rejecting calls from Minassian to shoot him.
David Lam, who used to be a police officer in Hong Kong and now owns Top Choice Restaurant in Markham, said he was working at the time of the incident. David said he later got a call from his son to tell him he was OK.
“My son called me (and) told me, ‘Daddy, everything is fine. I arrested the suspect … I didn’t even fire any shots,’” he said.
“I said, ‘You did a good job.’”
David said he has only spoken with his son once since the arrest and doesn’t know the exact details of what happened. When asked about how many are praising Const. Lam as a hero, David praised the training his son received “so he can handle any problem.”
“It’s not a matter of (being a) hero or not, it’s the matter of you’re the policeman. You’re here to do your own job,” David said.
“I feel proud of him (that he did) a good job, but I’m still like the other fathers – I’m scared.”
Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders was asked during a news conference Monday evening about Lam’s arrest of the suspect without use of force. He commended the officer and said it was due to “high-calibre training.”
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“The officers here are taught to use as little force as possible in any given situation and I believe that this was captured on video,” he said, noting he hasn’t received information the suspect was armed with a weapon.
“Through the training, the officer did a fantastic job with respect to utilizing his ability of understanding the circumstance and the environment and having a peaceful resolution at the end of the day.”
Marc Parent, a former Montreal police chief and CEO of Commissionaires Quebec, called Lam’s work “remarkable” when asked for an assessment of the arrest on Tuesday.
He said officers are also trained to determine “appropriate level” of force for a given situation.
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“We are supposed to use the appropriate force in answer to the threat that we’re facing,” Parent said.
“It’s my analysis that realized that there was no real direct threat to him, so this is why he used a good level of force — he de-escalated to the stick instead of the gun.”
— With files from Rebecca Joseph and Kamil Karamali
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