Suspect’s alleged statements about ISIS led to terrorism charge over Toronto hammer attack: sources

Every morning, Hang-Kam Annie Chiu left her basement suite in Scarborough and walked to the local Tim Hortons, where she ordered a large coffee with two creams.

She would sit by the window with a group of seniors who met daily, helping them with their English, holding the door for them and making sure they got to their buses on time.

“She helped people,” an employee said. “She was amazing.”

At 64, Chiu was looking forward to retirement in September. But three weeks ago, she allegedly became Canada’s latest victim of terrorism.

On the evening of Friday, Feb. 21, she was on a sidewalk between the rice past factory where she worked and her home when a man armed with a hammer took her life.

Three hours later, Saad Akhtar, a 30-year-old software developer, walked into the Toronto police 42 Division precinct and turned himself in.

The police station was partially evacuated over a suspicious package he allegedly left at the front desk. A bomb disposal team was called in, said Meaghan Gray, a Toronto police spokesperson.

“The package was rendered safe and members were allowed to return to normal operations,” she said.

Akhtar was initially arrested for first-degree murder, but Toronto police then came across undisclosed evidence suggesting the killing might have been an act of terrorism.

They contacted the RCMP-led Integrated National Security Enforcement Team in Toronto, and on Feb. 25, the charge was changed to “murder-terrorist activity.”

Police have not explained why they suspect the killing was terrorism-related, but Global News has learned the decision stemmed from Akhtar’s statements concerning the so-called Islamic State.

Police are also investigating written materials they found.

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