Toronto Danforth shooter arrested and released two days before mass shooting: police docs21st September 2018
Two days before Faisal Hussain went on a deadly shooting rampage in Toronto’s Danforth neighbourhood, he was arrested for shoplifting but released, according to police documents unsealed on Thursday.
The search warrant applications show that Hussain was the subject of several police reports dating back as far as 2010, when he was reported three times as an emotionally disturbed person.
They also quote a witness describing that Hussain was “smiling as he was shooting.”
The new details from the police investigation into the July 22 shooting that killed Julianna Kozis, 10, and Reese Fallon, 18, and injured 13 others were disclosed by Justice David Corbett at the request of news organizations, including Global News.
READ MORE: Police continue to investigate 4 questions in Toronto’s Danforth shooting, including motive
Media outlets have been fighting in court since August for the release of the information that police put before the court the day after the shooting in order to obtain search warrants.
They provided more information about the actions of Hussain before his mass shooting, but not an explanation for why he did it.
According to his family, before the killings, Hussain got home from work at 2:30 p.m. and his twin brother spoke to him “about getting his life together, getting married and getting direction.”
Instead of listening, Hussain called repeatedly himself “mentally retarded” and went out onto the balcony of the family apartment to smoke a cigarette, his brother told police investigators.
“He left the house that evening to go for a walk around 8:30 p.m., never to return,” police wrote.
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Police are investigating whether anyone aside from Hussain was involved, a possible motive, how he obtained the gun, and whether anyone had a role in providing the weapon and bullets.
Yet nearly two months after the tragedy, no explanation has emerged for the mass shooting.
Two investigations are underway, one by the Toronto police and the other by the Special Investigations Unit, but little information has been officially released.
Mark Pugash, a spokesman for Toronto police, refused to comment on the new information citing the ongoing SIU investigation, and Monica Hudon, a spokeswoman for the SIU, also refused to comment.
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The newly-unsealed documents show that police wanted to search for materials “used to build an explosive device” and “any literature or documents depicting hate, extremism, terrorism or similar belief or following.”
During a search of Hussain’s apartment immediately following the shootings, a police explosives dog directed officers to a drawer under a bed. Inside it, police found a white powder they suspected was cocaine and other items that a judge has prohibited media outlets from disclosing.
“Given the amount of ammunition on hand, it is reasonable to believe that this occurrence was planned and that items of planning, both physical and digital on electronic devices, will be located within his residence,” police wrote.
Police seized several electronic devices from the home including cellphones, iPads, laptops and digital cameras.
“The accused’s electronic communications may have data pertaining to counselling or assisting other people in carrying out similar attacks or provide evidence of others counselling or inciting Faisal Hussain to commit his offences,” the document said.
Hussain’s family has kept quiet since the killings, except for a brief press release in which they described him as struggling with mental illness.
But the police records describe the sometimes conflicting statements the family gave investigators in the aftermath of the mass shooting, including his twin brother’s account of Hussain’s behaviour.
“He advised that in the past, Faisal has robbed a store with a gun, called the police to say he wanted to kill himself, and has been on anti-depressants,” Toronto police wrote.
“For the last couple years, Faisal has had no real friends. He started attending the mosque with his father but did not seem that interested in religion,” it said, adding that “Faisal was into guns when he was younger.”
“About 4 years ago, he remembers Faisal visiting Pakistan with his father.”
His father told police Hussain worked at both Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws and took sleeping pills but did not use alcohol or drugs. “He attends mosque every Friday but is not devout,” the police report said.
The father said Hussain had travelled to the Pakistani capital Islamabad “about 2-3 years ago to visit family. Faisal was happy on the trip and did not want to return because people left him alone there.”
He said he “forces” his son to attend mosque, and that Hussain did not smile, stayed in his room playing video games and only came out to eat. “Faisal did not have any girlfriends/friends or mental health issues,” the father told police.
But Hussain’s mother gave a different account of her son, saying he had never left Canada and that he saw a psychiatrist. She said he never talked about guns and she had “never seen him angry.”
“She advise that she has never seen Faisal with a gun, he has no friends and has never had a girlfriend. Faisal stays in his room for hours listening to music on his cell phone and goes for walks in the evenings but she does not know where he goes,” police wrote.
Included in the documents are ten names of victims injured in the shooting: Lima Awad El-Karin, Nikolas Valahohristas, Ali Demircan, Nikita Barboutsis, Danielle Kane, Dempsey Kukko-Pulkkinen, Miranda Li, Jun Lee, Kyung Chung, and Donny Kozis – Julianna’s father.
Three other names are redacted.