Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has identified the 29-year-old man being investigated in connection with a deadly mass shooting in Toronto.
“Due to the exceptional circumstances of this tragic incident and the public interest in knowing the man’s identity, the SIU is identifying the man as Faisal Hussain of Toronto,” reads a statement from the SIU.
“The SIU continues to investigate this incident,” the statement said. “The post-mortem is scheduled for tomorrow in Toronto.”
A statement from the Hussain family said they “are at a terrible loss for words but we must speak out to express our deepest condolences to the families who are now suffering on account of our son’s horrific actions.”
“We are utterly devastated by the incomprehensible news that our son was responsible for the senseless violence and loss of life that took place on the Danforth,” the statement said.
“Our son had severe mental health challenges, struggling with psychosis and depression his entire life. The interventions of professionals were unsuccessful.”
A university student and a 10-year-old girl were killed when a gunman opened fire around 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Toronto police say the suspect shot 15 people and exchanged gunfire with police before dying of a gunshot wound.
Reese Fallon was identified on Monday as the 18-year-old victim. MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith told local news station CP24 that the “devastated family” is asking for privacy.
“This is a loss for all of us,” Erskine-Smith said.
The exact circumstances of the man’s death are now being looked into by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters that police received a call shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday about a shooting near Danforth and Logan Avenues in Toronto’s east-end Greektown neighbourhood.
Police caught up with the man on nearby Bowden Street. The SIU says shots were exchanged between him and two officers and the man ran back to Danforth, where he was found dead on a sidewalk.
“It was a very rapid and fluid event that unfolded very quickly,” Det. Sgt. Terry Browne, the lead investigator on the case, said Monday afternoon.
Five injured victims were transported to St. Michael’s Hospital, acting medical director of trauma Dr. Najma Ahmed said. Three of them immediately received “life-saving” surgery, and all five were listed in serious or critical condition as of Monday.
The names of the two people killed have not been made public. Browne said the 18-year-old woman was from Toronto and the 10-year-old girl was from the Greater Toronto Area. Seven of the injured victims are male and six are female. Their ages range from 17 to 59.
Officials at Michael Garron Hospital said two gunshot victims were treated at their facility and were stable. Five other patients, who were not shot, were treated for issues “in relation to the shooting.”
Witness describes dozens of gunshots
Multiple witnesses told Toronto’s breaking news station CP24 that they heard anywhere between a dozen and 20 shots. CP24’s Cam Woolley, a former police officer, said he saw “about a dozen” shell casings in one location and noticed bullet holes in a nearby coffee shop.
“I think he fired at least 30 rounds before he was intercepted by police,” Woolley told CTV’s Your Morning.
John Tulloch said he and his brother had just gotten out of their car on Danforth when he heard about 20 to 30 gunshots.
“We just ran. We saw people starting to run so we just ran,” he told The Canadian Press.
Other witnesses described complete chaos as the suspect repeatedly fired his gun. Some social media users posted videos online in which shots can be heard along Danforth Avenue. One brief, chilling video appeared to show the suspect firing his gun.
Woolley said the video showed the man shooting “slowly and deliberately,” and that he appeared to be well-versed in firing and reloading his weapon.
“It appeared that the suspect had had some training or put some thought into this,” he said.
SIU investigators will attempt to determine whether the suspect was killed by police or died by suicide, CP24’s Cam Woolley told CTV’s Your Morning.
The man’s gun is now in the possession of investigators.
Police considering ‘every single possible motive’
Saunders said it’s too early to say what motivated the shooting.
“I’m looking at absolutely every single possible motive,” Saunders said.
He encouraged any witnesses who had not yet spoken to police to come forward with any information, photos or videos they may have. Browne said police were seeking authorization to execute a search warrant as part of their investigation.
Chris Lewis, CTV’s public safety analyst and a former commissioner of the OPP, said investigators would be looking into whether the man was working alone or had accomplices in planning or carrying out the shooting, what he may have been reading or talking about online, and how he obtained his gun.
“Was he inspired by some terrorist group? Was this a specific vendetta to kill a specific person and then he shot everybody else in his path?” he said. “That’s the big job of Toronto police. They can’t tell us a lot yet because they don’t know a lot yet.”
People will feel an urge to “put it in a bucket” by ascribing a motive such as terrorism or gang activity to the shooting, Lewis said, although the truth can often be more complicated. He pointed to last year’s shooting at a Las Vegas hotel which left 58 people dead and more than 800 others injured.
“They, to this day, don’t know why he did it,” he said.
Mayor wants stricter gun regulations
Toronto Mayor John Tory described the shooting as “an unspeakable act” and further evidence that stricter gun control regulations are needed in the city.
Speaking to city councillors Monday morning, Tory said he and other authorities would be “relentless” in piecing together why the attack happened and whether it could have been prevented.
“Our entire city has been shocked by this cowardly act of violence,” he said.
Tory, who has previously called for gun law reform, said he plans to push the provincial and federal governments for action on the issue.
“If we can prevent even one of these incidents, then it is a discussion worth having,” he said.
“This city has a gun problem, in that guns are far too readily available to far too many people.”
Support for the Danforth
Danforth Avenue is a busy street known for its restaurants, cafes and shops. It often draws large crowds of people looking for dinner and nightlife.
Lewis said there would not have been a significant police patrol presence on Danforth prior to the shooting, as officers would have been deployed to parts of the city where they are called more frequently.
Howard Lichtman, a spokesperson for the Greektown on the Danforth BIA, told reporters Monday that he’d heard stories of restaurant workers rushing outside to find out what had happened and offer assistance.
“As soon as the bullets stopped, they were there helping people,” he said.
A moment of silence was held at Queen’s Park for the victims of the attack. Premier Doug Ford said Ontarians were left “in shock” by the shooting.
“Two innocent people are dead – lives cut short and families devastated,” he said.
“The shooter is dead, but that will not delay or deter us from seeking justice.”
Mary Fragedakis, the city councillor for Toronto-Danforth, took to Twitter to thank first responders.
“Here on the Danforth tonight, my heart and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones. Words cannot express my sadness over this despicable act. Thanks to all the first responders and medical teams,” she wrote.
Here on the Danforth tonight, my heart and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones. Words cannot express my sadness over this despicable act. Thanks to all the first responders and medical teams.
— Mary Fragedakis (@mfragedakis) July 23, 2018
Toronto Police Chief Saunders has updated media from scene. 14 victims were shot with a handgun. 1 female adult has died. 1 young girl in critical condition. Suspect is dead (not included in 14 victim total) Witnesses call 416-808-2222 Anonymous tips 1-800-222-8477 #GO1341286 ^sm
— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) July 23, 2018
My evening was nice until I heard shooting right out of my place on the danforth. So scary!! The gun violence in Toronto is crazy. pic.twitter.com/eNHLlUlp6r
— n💫 (@nsxoxoii) July 23, 2018
Tonight, a despicable act has been perpetrated on the Danforth in our city.On behalf of all Toronto residents, I am…
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones and everyone affected by yesterday’s tragic incident. Thank you to our city’s first responders. #TorontoStrong pic.twitter.com/IhFLAOWPAa
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 23, 2018
My heart goes out to the victims and loved ones of the horrific act of gun violence in Toronto. Thank you to all the first responders for acting quickly to help everyone affected.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) July 23, 2018