The man accused of mowing down pedestrians in a bloody rampage in Toronto on Monday expressed his support moments before the attack for a mass murderer who became a hero of the fringe men’s rights movement.
“The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” Alek Minassian wrote on Facebook shortly before he allegedly used a van to kill 10 people and wound another 14. A Facebook official confirmed the authenticity of Minassian’s post to The Daily Beast on Tuesday and noted that his account has been removed from the site.
Elliot Rodger killed six people during a 2014 shooting spree in Isla Vista, California. The 22-year-old called himself an “incel,” or an involuntary celibate, a phrase invoked by men’s rights activists who feel rejected by women.
Before killing himself, Rodger left behind a 137-page manifesto that described how he felt shunned by women and sought revenge. He had also reportedly showed an interest in Nazis and had conducted internet searches about how to “silently kill” with a knife.
Four years later, 25-year-old Minassian allegedly drove a white rental van for nearly a mile on a sunny spring afternoon along Yonge Street, just north of midtown Toronto, colliding with people on the sidewalk. Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said Minassian was not known to local authorities before Monday’s attack.
Minassian was charged on Tuesday with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. Officers noted at Tuesday’s press conference that authorities expect one additional attempted murder charge to be filed before the case is concluded.
And while there’s no publicly stated motive, Minassian’s Facebook post sheds new light on the alleged killer.
Detective Sgt. Graham Gibson confirmed at a Tuesday afternoon press conference that Minassian left a “cryptic message” on social media just before “deliberately striking” pedestrians. Gibson said the victims of the attack were “predominantly female” but said he could not speak to the motive.
Minassian would not be the first to reference Rodger before killing. Nikolas Cruz, who has confessed to killing 17 people in a Florida high school earlier this year, is just the most recent notorious figure to have celebrated the killer online.
And Alexandre Bissonnette, who killed six people and injured 19 more at a Quebec mosque in January 2017, reportedly searched “Elliot Rodger” online the day before the shooting.
Canada’s École Polytechnique massacre, which killed 14 women in 1989, was committed by Marc Lépine, who said he was “fighting feminism” by murdering the school’s female engineering students.
Only one of the victims of Monday’s attack has been identified: Anne Marie D’Amico, who “succumbed to her injuries,” according to a press release from her employer.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said on Tuesday that, although the remainder of the victims will not be publicly named for several days, “every possible resource” has been dedicated to the task of confirming their identities.
Minassian reportedly lived with his parents in an upper-middle-class Toronto neighborhood, where fellow residents told the Globe that “he didn’t really make eye contact or say hi,” but “didn’t seem malicious or spiteful.”
The accused killer also served for two months in the Canadian Armed Forces but did not complete his recruit training and “requested to be voluntarily released,” Vice News reported.
Tory said Monday: “Toronto was a great city yesterday. It’s a great city today. And it will be a great city tomorrow.
“The people who call this city home are shaken and we mourn together,” he added. “But we are not broken, and we will not be broken.”