Details emerge about deadly Toronto van attack suspect Alek Minassian

TORONTO, April 23 (Reuters) - The suspect in a Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday attended a high school program for students with special needs where he would often walk the halls with his head down and hands tightly clasped, according to former classmates.

Police say Alek Minassian, 25, was arrested 26 minutes after he allegedly drove a white rental van into a crowd in the north end of Toronto, sending bodies flying.

A bystander video of the incident, shown on CBC TV, shows a man repeatedly pointing an object at a police officer who shouts at him to 'get down' as the suspect demands: "Kill me."

Shereen Chami said her former classmate was not violent. She said Minassian was part of a program at Thornlea Secondary School, in Toronto's northern suburbs, for high school students with special needs, attending a mix of mainstream and separate classes.

Chami remembers him walking the halls with his hands together and his head down, and making meowing noises.

"He wasn't a social person, but from what I remember he was absolutely harmless," she said.

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Several pedestrians killed after van strikes people in Toronto
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Several pedestrians killed after van strikes people in Toronto
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Police inspect a van suspected of being involved in a collision injuring at least eight people at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. on April 23, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. A suspect is in custody after a white van collided with multiple pedestrians. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Toronto police responds to an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Donovan
People react to an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Toronto police investigates an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Donovan
People react to an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
An unidentified body is seen near the crime scene after a truck hit several pedestrians in Toronto, Ontario, on on April 23, 2018. - A man drove a white rental van into a crowd of pedestrians in the center of Canada's biggest city Toronto on April 23, 2018, injuring as many as 10 people, police said.Canadian media reported at least four fatalities, but that was not yet confirmed by police. The vehicle fled the scene, but the driver was later arrested.'Update: unknown of extent of injuries, possible 8 - 10 pedestrians struck,' Toronto police wrote on Twitter. (Photo by Lars Hagberg / AFP) (Photo credit should read LARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Firemen cover a victim of an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A pedestrian, who police say was a witness to a van striking multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs, reacts in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A pedestrian officer responds to an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Police inspect a van suspected of being involved in a collision injuring at least eight people at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. on April 23, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. A suspect is in custody after a white van collided with multiple pedestrians. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
A pedestrian walks along a police crime scene tape near where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Toronto police investigates an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Donovan
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Police inspect a van suspected of being involved in a collision injuring at least eight people at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. on April 23, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. A suspect is in custody after a white van collided with multiple pedestrians. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
A police officer responds to an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
TORONTO, ON- APRIL 23 - Police have Yonge Street blocked off at Parkview Avenue where on of the victims lies on the East side of the street as the Police investigate a van that ran down pedestrians along Yonge Street between Sheppard and Finch streets in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. April 23, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: A police officer enters his police car at the cordoned off Yonge St. at Finch Ave. after a van plowed into pedestrians on April 23, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. A suspect is in custody after a white van collided with multiple pedestrians. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Law enforcement and first responders on scene at Yonge St. at Finch Ave. after a van plows into pedestrians April 23, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A suspect is in custody after a white van collided with multiple pedestrians. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Police officers stand near the crime scene after a truck hit several pedestrians in Toronto, Ontario, on on April 23, 2018. - A man drove a white rental van into a crowd of pedestrians in the center of Canada's biggest city Toronto on April 23, 2018, injuring as many as 10 people, police said.Canadian media reported at least four fatalities, but that was not yet confirmed by police. The vehicle fled the scene, but the driver was later arrested.'Update: unknown of extent of injuries, possible 8 - 10 pedestrians struck,' Toronto police wrote on Twitter. (Photo by Lars Hagberg / AFP) (Photo credit should read LARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- APRIL 23 - Police have Yonge Street blocked off at Parkview Avenue where on of the victims lies on the East side of the street as the Police investigate a van that ran down pedestrians along Yonge Street between Sheppard and Finch streets in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. April 23, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- APRIL 23 - Police have Yonge Street blocked off at Parkview Avenue where on of the victims lies on the East side of the street as the Police investigate a van that ran down pedestrians along Yonge Street between Sheppard and Finch streets in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. April 23, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Police inspect a van suspected of being involved in a collision injuring at least eight people at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. on April 23, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. A suspect is in custody after a white van collided with multiple pedestrians. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
#UPDATE: Toronto Police confirm a van mounted the curb and hit a number of pedestrians. The driver fled the scene.… https://t.co/ithoyep0bK
There is a Ryder van up on the curb on Poyntz Ave, just south of Yonge & Sheppard. Overheard “…they shot him”. Heli… https://t.co/H7cmfh1mk2
JUST IN: A van has collided with numerous pedestrians in Toronto, Canada, according to police. The extent of the in… https://t.co/gAQ8tk4vaj
More: Toronto subway service shut down after report that a van struck a number of people at Yonge Street and Finch… https://t.co/PvcqdMcf8H
JUST IN: Toronto police say pedestrians have been struck by a van, number of injuries are unknown https://t.co/hmCuVriMwU
I’ve now walked up Yonge St from north of Sheppard to Finch. I have passed multiple dead bodies covered up, shoes a… https://t.co/0BLR83tXJK
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Two other classmates said they attended classes for students with special needs alongside Minassian. Special needs is a blanket term used in the Canadian education system that covers learning and behavioral difficulties as well as physical disabilities.

Police said Minassian was not previously known to them and his motives were still unknown. Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said the driver's actions "definitely looked deliberate."

Minassian's Facebook page could not be accessed through the social networking site. A bare-bones version available through the Internet Archive said he attended Seneca College from 2011 to April 2018, graduated from Thornlea secondary school in 2011 and listed software development under professional skills.

A September 2013 blog post said he had started to work at Seneca College's Centre for Development of Open Technology. He posted about his progress developing software there until March 2014.

Google's Android store offers a parking app developed by someone named Alek Minassian. (Additional reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Michael Perry)

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