Vaughan hostage taker wore suicide vest, demanded to speak with Trump
More from Joe Warmington
December 14, 2017
December 14, 2017 9:13 PM EST
Police are pictured at a home in Vaughan's Bathurst St.-Teston Rd. area where a hostage taker was believed to have lived.Joe Warmington, Toronto Sun
Demanding to talk to United States President Donald Trump, the 25-year-old man had nine bombs strapped to a suicide vest, a detonator in one hand and a gun in the other.
And he was threatening to use his entire arsenal inside an RBC branch — at the corner of Major MacKenzie Dr. and Dufferin St. in Vaughan — where he had up to 13 hostages Wednesday.
“He was waving his gun around,” said a person who was on the scene. “He was not demanding money. He asked for no money. He said he wanted crystal meth and he wanted to talk to Trump.”
He also asked for panicked bank employees to call police.
Police are working to determine whether his arsenal or threats were real. But York Regional Police did not take any chances. After a robot was deployed inside the bank, two officers took him out with gunshots.
“I am glad that they did,” said one person who was inside the building before being told to get out by police. “It was a scary situation when a guy has bombs and a gun.”
This investigation is still very much in its early stages with forensics to determine what was authentic. The province’s Special Investigation’s Unit, which investigates police shootings, was all over this taped-off scene Thursday.
One source who was on the scene said officers tried everything they could to get the man to surrender and to free his hostages.
“In the end there was no negotiating with him. He didn’t want to talk anymore,” said the insider, who described him as appearing emotionally unstable.
One of the working theories is suicide by cop. Little is known about the dead man so far. The SIU had not yet released his name.
Who was this mystery man and why did he drive a car from the Bathurst St.-Teston Rd. area four kilometres to the bank with a suicide vest?
“He is Middle Eastern,” confirmed a police source. “I believe he’s originally from Egypt.” One witnessed said there was no references to any religious or terror allegiences in the man’s rantings. The only thing political was the name “Trump.”
Police were guarding the scene of a nearby, spacious, recently built, two-floor luxury home at 130 Lady Delores Dr. where the deceased is said to have been living. Neighbours describe it as an uneventful abode.
With a York Regional cruiser holding the taped off scene, the front door of the house had remained open since late Wednesday evening when police came in. There is broken glass visible on the front step.
“We are awaiting a warrant to search the house,” explained York Const. Andy Pattenden.
When explosives are part of a probe, it’s not unusual to have specialists take a look for live explosives or any products or equipment that could make such devices.
No one has confirmed if the bombs or weapon the dead man displayed were operational. But one person in the building at the time of the incident, said the hostages felt they looked real.
One person I talked with who was inside the building when the hostage taking went down, described it as one of those pat-the-police-on-the-back moments.
But ultimately that will be up to the SIU to decide.
WARMINGTON: Vaughan hostage taker wore suicide vest, demanded to speak with Trump | Toronto Sun