While the outcome of the van attack in Toronto, Canada on April 23, 2018, was already horrendous, it could have been even worse. But it wasn’t thanks to Const. Ken Lam, the Toronto police officer who took down suspect Alek Minassian without firing a single shot. Here’s what you need to know about the world’s newest hero in our Const. Ken Lam wiki.
Const. Ken Lam Wiki: Why He’s Being Hailed as a Hero
Toronto Van Attacks: What Happened and Reactions
On Monday, April 23 at around 1:30 p.m., 25-year-old Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rented van down Yonge Street in Toronto. He’s accused of jumping the curb, hitting numerous people on the sidewalk and ultimately killing 10 and injuring 15.
Seven minutes after being notified, Toronto police were en route, including Const. Ken Lam. At the time, Lam was serving as a traffic response officer, and not in the area where the attack occurred.
When Minassian exited the banged-up van, it was Const. Lam who confronted him.
In the video caught on a bystander’s cell phone, Lam pulls his gun and tells Minassian to get down multiple times.
Rather than doing so, the man pulls out an object and points it at the officer. Minassian makes several aggressive motions with it (it was later revealed to be a phone).
Rather than react violently, Const. Lam turns off his police car’s siren and attempts to get the man to come peacefully.
Instead, the suspect says to the officer, “Kill me.” He yells that he has a gun in his pocket and tells Lam to shoot him in the head.
Minassian might have been attempting “suicide by cop.”
Const. Ken Lam refuses to give him what he wants, even putting away his gun. Armed with just his baton, he keeps approaching, despite not knowing if the suspect is armed or if there are explosives on his person or in the van. Eventually, Const. Lam gets close enough and the Minassian relents, giving himself up and letting the officer cuff him.
Since them, Const. Ken Lam has been called a hero for apprehending the man without shooting his gun, especially since “shoot first/ask questions later” has become a common response to such situations in recent years. He has received universal praise for his handling of the situation from the media and others online.
Who Is Ken Lam?
Const. Ken Lam appears to have a very minimal social media presence and he is currently requesting privacy, so there’s not much personal information available on him. In addition, the Toronto Police chief has asked that the media not contact Lam, as he is a key witness in the ongoing Toronto van attack investigation.
However, we do know that he is 42 years old. He is the son of Hong Kong immigrants.
What’s more, being a cop is in Lam’s blood. His father, David Lam, was himself a police officer in Hong Kong, prior to immigrating to Canada. He now owns Top Choice, a Chinese restaurant in Markham, Canada.
The elder Lam has only spoken to his son once since Alek Minassian’s arrest. He told his son he “did a good job.”
“I feel proud of him (that he did) a good job,” David Lam said, “but I’m still like the other fathers—I’m scared.” Const. Lam is also noted for being very generous, often selling his own property for the sake of charity.
— Kamil Karamali (@KamilKaramali) April 24, 2018
Lam’s Professional Background
Const. Ken Lam has served as a member of the Toronto Police Service for over seven years. His service record before the Yonge Street van attack appears to be unremarkable.
Needless to say, if he wasn’t held in very high regard by his fellow police officers before, he is now.
Toronto Police Chief Mike Saunders called Lam’s ability to apprehend the suspect unharmed “remarkable” and praised his ability to apply his training in a very tense situation.
According to Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack , when he spoke to Const. Ken Lam after the arrest of Minassian, he learned just how strong the man’s character is.
McCormack said Lam “was very upset about the loss of life and all the people in hospital,” and in fact he did not want to be called a hero as he was just doing his job.