A 79-year-old Toronto man has been charged with murder and attempted murder, police say, after allegedly intentionally running over three people in North York on Wednesday.
In a news release issued Thursday, Toronto police said Ciro Garofano, 79, faces one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the incident in a parking lot at 250 Cassandra Blvd. , west of Victoria Park. Avenue and south of Parkwoods Village Drive.
Police say three people were intentionally hit by a vehicle Garofano was driving. All three were rushed to hospital, where a 61-year-old Toronto woman was pronounced dead. Investigators have not revealed her identity.
Garofano appeared in court via video link on Thursday morning, dressed in a white jumpsuit. He only spoke to give his name and was taken back into custody.
Detective Sergeant. Brandon Price told reporters Wednesday that there is a family relationship between Garofano and the victims, but did not provide details.
The victims included an adult woman, an adult man and an elderly woman, he said. Investigators say the two people who survived suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Neighbors describe horrible scene
Building resident Derek Bailey said he witnessed the collision from his balcony. Aerial footage from the scene shows police cordoning off an area in a parking loop inside an apartment complex.
Bailey said he saw a driver in a white vehicle drive toward the end of a staircase where a group of people were standing.
They were all hit and a woman was trapped under the vehicle, he said.
Bailey said he saw the driver run toward the pedestrians several times, heading toward them and backing up, dragging the woman under the car the first time.
SEE | ‘Someone shouted: ‘Help, help, help’:
According to Bailey, the driver hit the woman three times. He then went around in a circle, turned around and ran over her a fourth time.
“I was devastated,” Bailey said.
“I feel sorry for the family. It was brutal. The way he died was horrible,” he said.
Police handcuffed driver
Rudy Wachtel, a resident of the building for the past 11 years, said he was in his apartment when he heard screaming and went outside to see what was happening. Emergency crews had not yet arrived, he said.
“Someone yelled, ‘Help, help, help!'” Wachtel said, noting that he did not witness the collision itself.
“I saw this lady on the ground, she wasn’t moving at all. There was another lady there in the corner,” he added. “The lady that was lying here in the middle, she was totally covered in blood, you know, and totally unconscious.”
When the first officer arrived on the scene, a person pointed at the driver and the officer immediately pulled the driver out of the car and handcuffed him, Wachtel said.
He said the apartment building is generally very quiet.
“This building here is very, very safe. We’ve never had a problem like this.”