Knife Attack Suspect Named

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 11:51 a.m. March 15, 2016
Updated: 11:05 a.m. March 16, 2016

A knife-wielding man who allegedly stabbed two Canadian Forces members at a North York recruitment centre is facing several charges, including attempted murder, as investigators search for more information on what motivated the man’s attack.

The Chief of Police in Uniform standing at a podium
Chief Mark Saunders speaks to the media about the suspect who allegedly attacked two Canadian Forces members.

Just before 3 p.m. on March 14, Ayanie Hassan Ali, 27, walked past a uniformed Master Corporal posted at a table near the entrance of the facility at 4900 Yonge St.

At a press conference at police headquarters on March 15, Chief Mark Saunders said the suspect ignored the Master Corporal who was trying to get his attention.

“The accused then started striking him until he fell to the ground,” said Saunders. “The Master Corporal managed to get up, at which point he observed the accused with a large knife in his hand. He continued to advance to the Master Corporal and slashed him on the upper right arm.”

The suspect went into the centre area of the recruitment centre and slashed another Canadian Forces member.

“As he went further into the centre, military staff corralled civilian staff into a safe location and subdued the accused until police arrived,” said Saunders.

Chief Mark Saunders speaks about an arrest in the Canadian Forces knife attack

The injured military staff was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Before he was arrested by police, the accused said: “Allah told me to do this” and “Allah told me to come here and kill people.”

Chief Saunders said Toronto Police are working with the RCMP, the OPP and CSIS to establish a full understanding and to gather all evidence necessary to bring the matter before the judicial system.

“To date, there is nothing to indicate the accused is working with anyone or in concert with any organization at this time,” he added. “The investigation is still ongoing and it will take some time to have a complete picture.”

The accused, born in Montreal, is charged with one count of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a weapon, one count of weapons dangerous and one count of aggravated assault.

Investigators are appealing to anyone in the vicinity of Yonge St., just north of Sheppard Ave. E., at around 3 p.m. on the afternoon of March 14 who noticed anything that might be connected to the investigation to contact Detective Dale Dafoe at (416) 808-3287.

People can also call Crime Stoppers at 416−222−TIPS (8477); or via the internet at; or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637); or download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.

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