On Monday, March 14, 27-year-old Ayanie Hassan Ali of Toronto walked in to a Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre and stabbed two soldiers. Ali has been charged with two counts of assault with a weapon, aggravated assault and attempted murder.
According to police reports, at 2:45 p.m. Ali entered the Centre and attacked a uniformed master corporal, sitting at the entrance, who slashed several times. He then proceeded onward to the rear but was taken down by several CAF members. During this time, a second soldier was stabbed.
Both soldiers were treated for non-life threatening injuries.
“We’re fortunate that the Canadian Forces, through their training, reacted, and as a result, I can tell you that had they not responded or reacted the chances of this being much more severe would have occurred,” said Toronto Police Chief, Mark Saunders.
In a news conference on Monday Saunders stated that they are investigating possible terrorist activity.
“Certain comments were made by this gentlemen that was held in custody before the police arrived that has caused some concern this has caused us to look a little bit better at the motive behind this attack,” said Saunders.
Currently, Toronto Police does not have a clear picture of the motive and whether or not he acted alone.
On Tuesday afternoon General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, issued today the following statement, “As we remain steadfast in our commitment to defending Canadians and Canadian interests, we remain undeterred by yesterday’s attack at the Canadian Armed Forces Recruiting Centre in Toronto.
“I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to our members who bravely detained the attacker, effectively neutralizing the threat from further harming CFRC Toronto staff and applicants. Their courage in the face of adversity is to be commended. It is a demonstration of the training they receive and their devotion to Canada. We request their privacy be respected at this time.
“While investigative authorities continue their work in this very important matter, the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to adapt Force Protection measures to ensure the ongoing safety of our personnel across Canada. Their safety and well-being is, as always, our primary concern.
“As usual, we will not discuss the specifics of these measures. However, under current circumstances, our men and women will continue to proudly wear their uniforms in public.
“We would like to re-iterate our utmost appreciation to enforcement agencies for their swift action in ensuring prompt resolution to the matter and thank them for helping to ensure our members can continue to feel safe on Canadian soil.”
Saunders told reporters Tuesday from police headquarters, “It will take some time to have a complete picture.”