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9 Dead, 16 Injured In Toronto After Van Plows Into Pedestrians

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

We're continuing to follow news out of Toronto, where this afternoon a van jumped the curb and plowed into people on a busy sidewalk. Authorities there say nine people are dead, and at least 16 are injured. The city's mayor and police chief are holding a press conference at this hour, and we'll bring you more details as we have them.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The driver of the van has been taken into custody. Canada's ministry of public safety says it is still too soon to say whether this was an act of terrorism. Phil Zullo was driving down Young Street. He first saw the white Ryder van and a heavy police presence. He figured it was a robbery. And then he saw the people on the ground.

PHIL ZULLO: As I kept driving northbound, I saw more and more bodies, some moving, some not. It was pretty obvious what had happened at that point. And all I can keep thinking is, please don't let me see a child. Please don't let me see a child. I must've saw at least 10 adults laying all over the sidewalks and on the roads. And I don't know them. So they haven't released names. And I know the area. I'm from there. And so I'm just praying I don't know anybody. But either way it's horrific.

CHANG: Zullo said this happened in a busy part of town.

ZULLO: It's very, very busy. It's a very busy few blocks. The street intersection that he drove through was right by North York City Hall - multiple high-rise condos, office buildings, busy, busy intersections. Every corner on every block has entrance and exits into our subway systems. So it's a very busy few blocks that he drove through.

CHANG: Zullo has left the area now, but he says he cannot stop thinking about what he saw.

ZULLO: I saw what I thought was a stroller and almost had a panic attack, and then realized it was a walker. So I couldn't make out much. Some bodies were moving. Some weren't. Just - police just coming in. The police were so amazing. Like, these cops came out, and they're running around, just jumping on these bodies so quickly and doing chest compressions and CPR. And these guys are like superheroes, man. They were amazing. Pedestrians helping everybody, guiding cars off the road, too, and getting people's cars out of the way. And it was - it was amazing what people were doing to help everybody there.

CHANG: We'll be reporting more details as we learn them.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.