Anne Marie D’Amico is the first identified victim of deadly van attack on a bustling Toronto street Monday that claimed the lives of 10 people and injured 15, according to CityNews.
The Toronto Police Service is seeking assistance in finding witnesses and identifying other victims.
Alek Minassian, 25, was taken into custody and appeared in court today, Tuesday charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. Canadian authorities do not believe the attack, where a rented Ryder van driven by Minassian leaped the curb onto the busy Yonge Street sidewalk and mowed down pedestrians over a 1.2 mile stretch. Police do not believe the attack was related to terrorism although they have yet to release a possible motive.
Here’s a glimpse into D’Amico’s life:
D’Amico Was Young, Happy, & Had a Full Life Ahead
A Toronto resident, D’Amico is one of three siblings and was the daughter of Rocco and Carmela D’Amico who live in the Davenport neighborhood just northwest of downtown Toronto. D’Amico went to Ryerson University. Although D’Amico had not updated her Facebook page since 2013, her Instagram account is set to private and her LinkedIn page is sparse, there are a few photos of the young woman with long dark hair and a huge smile. Her last post was about the Super Bowl.
Here’s a then light-hearted and funny and now heart-wrenching video Anne Marie posted in 2010 of her performance at the Mr./Ms Reyerson contest.
“Here I am at the Ram, on a Wednesday night about to perform the talent portion of the Mr./Ms. Ryerson Competition. Talent: Singing the ABCs backwards, while breaking boards. Apparently it was a lethal combination. What you don’t see in the video was my first board breaking (P for punch) where the board flew out of Arzan’s hand and into the audience. I’m still not sure if anyone was hurt during this filming. Pay attention to the audience’s applause before and after my talent. Sit back and enjoy the comedy!”
D’Amico’s Father Said the Family is ‘Living the Worst Nightmare’
According to the Toronto Star, a government official in the community where her parents live, who is also a family friend, Councillor Cesar Palacio, said D’Amico was a friend of his daughter. Palacio said that while he and his family were devastated by the news, he spoke to D’Amico’s father Rocco Tuesday morning and was told that the family’s grief is unimaginable.
“It was clear that part of his life is gone,” Palacio said. “As he noted, he’s living the worst nightmare ever in his life.”
In a statement, the family wrote, “Anne-Marie had a generous heart and always did big things for people. She wouldn’t stop until she went the extra mile for others and that was manifested in her loving attention to detail. She genuinely wanted to care for all those around her even if it means sacrificing a portion of herself in return for others happiness. She only had kindness in her. Her name has been broadcast around the world attached to this terrible tragedy. But we want everyone to know that she embodied the definition of altruism. It comforts us knowing that the world has a chance to know her and we hope that in this time, people fight with the same altruism rather than anger and hatred. We ask that at this time your respect (of) our family’s privacy as we come to terms with this tragic news.”
Grief, Shock, Remembrances, Tributes, & Condolences Are Shared by Friends on Social Media
In an emotional post, friend Brodie McDonald shared a happy memory and pain and grief.
“One of my fondest memories of you is of course, how you schooled everyone at the pool table in Sosua. You did it with a smirk and no words, which made it even funnier as all of the cockiness out of some of the fellas slipped away quickly as you sunk ball after ball.
“I am so angry at the world today and I am so sorry that this happened to you and as tears roll down my face thinking about the incredible person that you were, please know that you made a difference in so many peoples’ lives. You were a rock, a champion, a soldier, a nurturer, a friend in Dominican… You were what we all needed, when we needed it.
“Your love for baseball is what brought you and I close, and it was to be our next meeting point in life as I was going to see you in less than three weeks when the Jays are hopefully going to pound the Red Sox in Toronto. Even though you won’t be there, I’ll hold a beer up for you my friend. Please rest easy…
“I’ll leave you all with this – She was the only one to get a base hit during our little little baseball break in Dominican…”
Arash Madani reminded people that D’Amico volunteered her time.
And friend Sarah Liberatore said D’Amico was “genuine.”
D’Amico Worked with Tennis Canada & Badminton and Racquet Club of Toronto
“It is with deepest sorrow that Tennis Canada confirms the passing of a member of its extended family this morning.
“Anne-Marie D’Amico, identified as one of the victims of the senseless van attack in Toronto yesterday, had been working at Rogers Cup since the age of 12.
“Anne-Marie started out as a ball girl and went on to become an integral part of the volunteer team, most recently serving as committee head of Stadium Control in addition to her full-time role with Invesco, a US-based investment management firm.
“Anne-Marie was voted volunteer of the year in 2016. She was always smiling, had the biggest heart and always put other people’s needs ahead of her own.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Anne-Marie’s family and with all those impacted by this tragic event,” said Gavin Ziv, the Vice President of Professional Events at Tennis Canada. “Anne-Marie lived for working at Rogers Cup and seeing her fellow volunteers each summer. The tournament was such a large part of her life and we were so lucky to have her on our team each summer. Her passion for Rogers Cup was contagious and we are honoured to let the world know what an amazing person she was and the great things she did for others.”
The Tennis Canada statement continues, “Anne-Marie’s grandmother, mother, father and brother have all been volunteers with Rogers Cup and the D’Amico family have provided a combined 84 years of incredible service for the event.
“Anne-Marie will be greatly missed by the Tennis Canada and Rogers Cup family, who will make plans to honour her memory and service to the tournament at this summer’s event.”
Anne Marie was also a member of the Bow Valley Club, which posted its own condolences.
A Volunteer With ‘Live Different,’ D’Amico Was Honored & Mourned by the Charity
‘Live Different’ describes itself as “passionate about positively affecting the lives of others through our motivational school presentations, our international humanitarian build experiences, our leadership academy program, and our on-going Live Different Projects.”
In this photo from ‘Live Different,’ based on comments under it, this image is form a trip to the Dominican Republic.
Jenn Digiandomenico commented that “It was such a pleasure to work alongside Anne Marie in the Dominican. She was a beautiful soul, with a great sense of humour and a true love for life!
‘Live Different’ has has offices in Hamilton, Ontario and Brandon, Manitoba and volunteers travel across Canada and to Dominican Republic, Mexico, Haiti and Thailand.
D’Amico Worked at Invesco Canada. An Employee Said the ‘Workplace Has Been Devastated By the News’
Located on Yonge Street, Invesco Canada describes itself on LinkedIn as “an independent management firm dedicated to delivering an investment experience that helps people get more out of life. Official Investment Management Partner of the Toronto Blue Jays.”
A statement provided to CBC from company president Peter Intraligi confirmed her death.
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those impacted by this tragic event. I can now confirm that unfortunately one of our employees has succumbed to her injuries. Out of respect for her and her family, we will not be providing any further comments.”
A co-worker told CBC that D’Amico was “full of life, loved to travel, loved to help volunteer.”
In an interview, Jon Tam said D’Amico was “a very warm, friendly presence in the office. Always smiling I’ll definitely be missing seeing that smile around the office.”