Alek Minassian joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2017, hoping to join the infantry — the army’s go-anywhere, whatever-it-takes, combat soldiers. About two weeks after applying, he found himself at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in St. Jean-sur-Richeliu, Quebec.
“I was interested in learning how to use weapons, specifically large guns, such as assault rifles,” he told a police detective a few hours after being arrested for the bloodiest terror attack in Toronto’s history.
He was not a good soldier. Senior military officers told the Sun Minassian was an “unexceptional” candidate. He wasn’t great, he wasn’t horrible, he wasn’t particularly memorable. “No red flags,” one officer noted.
“It was basically, a quick training withdrawal.” He just wasn’t a good fit with army life — and he felt it too.
Minassian asked to be released from the military 16 days into basic training — at which point, he would have spent most of his time learning how to wear a uniform, polish boots, make his bed, march in formation and the basics of military law, rank, saluting and tradition.
Teamwork is the foundation of everything and, always, physical training. He did not receive weapons or combat training of any kind.
“Unfortunately, I never made it far enough in my basic training to use guns,” Minassian told the police detective who interviewed him after the 2018 van attack.