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What we know about the Danforth shooter

Last Updated Jul 25, 2018 at 1:58 pm EDT

The motive behind the Danforth mass shooting that killed two people, injured 13 others, and left a city searching for answers remains a mystery.

But details are beginning to emerge about deceased gunman Faisal Hussain.

There is no evidence Hussain had a criminal record and, according to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, he was not on a federal watch list.

680 NEWS reported Hussain was known to police for his “online activity,” but the type of activity that drew the attention of authorities hasn’t been revealed.

The Islamic State Group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Toronto police say there’s no evidence at this point that the shooting was terror-related.

“At this stage, we have no evidence to support these claims,” Toronto police said in a statement. “Accurate information about this investigation will only be released by the Toronto Police Service. We will continue to explore every investigative avenue…”

It’s still unclear if the gun Hussain used was obtained legally or if he had any training on how to fire a weapon.

‘Mental health challenges’

Hussain lived in a Thorncliffe Park apartment complex with his parents and attended Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute during his high school years.

Faisal Hussain’s yearbook photo from Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Toronto, 2004-2005. Photo courtesy: Toronto Star
Faisal Hussain’s yearbook photo from Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Toronto, 2004-2005. Photo courtesy: Toronto Star

Neighbours describe him as polite, quiet and reserved.

Fiaz Khan, who lives in the same complex as the family, said Hussain would say “hello” but not much else and he often wore a cap and black clothes.

“I never saw that he was violent or hyper,” Khan said. “His parents are beautiful. I don’t know what happened to this guy.”

Khan said the family had been through several hardships over the years and that Hussain’s father was racked with stress.

“Sometimes the father was crying,” he said. “His son is in the hospital; he’s in a coma. And the one daughter, she died (in a car accident).”

On Monday, Hussain’s parents issued a statement saying he suffered from “severe mental health challenges” and has dealt with psychosis and depression his entire life.

“Medications and therapy were unable to treat him,” they said. “While we did our best to seek help for him throughout his life of struggle and pain, we could never imagine that this would be his devastating and destructive end.”

Dr. David Goldbloom, senior medical advisor at CAMH, said people suffering from psychosis rarely commit violent acts.

“For most people who experience psychosis, it is not accompanied by violent behaviour,” he said. “People with psychosis are at greater risk of being the victims of violence then of perpetrating violence.

“Occasionally, and tragically, some people with psychotic illness do act out in a very violent way.”


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