Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) have confirmed that 29-year-old Faisal Hussain from Toronto, Ont., went on a shooting rampage in the city’s Danforth neighbourhood.
On Sunday night at approximately 10:00 p.m., Hussain shot sixteen people, killing 18-year-old Reese Fallon and a 10-year-old girl from the Greater Toronto Area. Fallon was identified by Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who represents a nearby area, but officials have not formally revealed the identities of any victims in the attack.
In a statement following the release of Hussain’s identity by SIU, his family revealed that he had “severe mental health challenges,” and had attempted both medications and therapy as treatment.
“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,” Hussain’s family 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.”
Hussain died of a gunshot wound during a exchange with police. SIU is still investigating whether he shot himself or was shot by police during the incident. The investigation unit did retrieve the handgun Hussain used Sunday night.
In a public statement on Monday, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said officials have not determined a motive but they are prioritizing capturing all the necessary evidence for the investigation.
“I can tell you that there is a newness to this in Toronto environment…I think that we have to figure out what we can do collectively,” Saunders said. “There is no magic pill to say all is well.”
Det. Sgt. Terry Browne described the shooting as a “quick, dynamic incident” and “very disturbing.” He also said uniformed officers will be canvasing the area, both north and south of Danforth Ave., as part of the investigation process.
Kerri Lahey, a witness who was having dinner in the Greektown area when the attack occurred, described the scene for CBC News.
“We were sitting out on the patio and we heard shots, so we went inside, and then he came in the restaurant and he shot the girl right in front of me,” Lahey told the public broadcaster. “It went right through her lungs. Thank God for the cops, because the paramedics showed up so late that the cops saved her life.”
According to officials 13 people are in hospital, three of whom underwent surgeries, with injuries ranging from minor to serious and “life-altering”.
Residents of the city, celebrities and individuals abroad have taken to social media to express their condolences and support for the victims of the mass shooting, and the city of Toronto as a whole.