The man who went on a deadly shooting rampage before killing himself in Toronto’s Greektown this summer was an emotionally disturbed loner and did not appear to act out of any particular ideological motivation, police documents released on Thursday indicate.
The redacted documents, drawn up by officers in support of obtaining search warrants, also indicate Faisal Hussain was arrested for shoplifting two days before the incident but was released unconditionally. The papers go on to say Hussain had three dealings with police as an “emotionally distressed person” in 2010.
In a summarized interview with police, Hussain’s twin brother told investigators his sibling had once robbed a store with a gun and had called police to say he wanted to kill himself.
“For the last couple years, Faisal has had no real friends,” the brother is quoted as saying. “He started attending the mosque with his father but did not seem that interested in religion.”
On July 22, Hussain, 29, shot and killed Julianna Kozis, 10, and Reese Fallon, 18, on the city’s east-end Danforth Avenue. He also injured 13 others. In one instance, the documents show, the shooter “stood on top of a woman and shot her four times.” He then shot himself, the documents show.
The late evening rampage in the popular restaurant and shopping district sparked panic, sending people running for their lives, and triggered outpourings of grief. Some in the area were hailed as heroes for doing what they could to aid the wounded. The attack also prompted questions about what motivated Hussain’s actions and how he got access to a gun.
According to one detective cited in the documents, Hussain’s cellphone was ringing repeatedly when he was found. An officer answered the phone to discover it was Hussain’s parents frantically trying to reach him, the documents show. The officer spoke to them and advised them to go to a police station.
Police used a dog trained to detect explosives when they searched Hussain’s home. What the dog found is partially redacted in the documents, but a white powdery substance – possibly cocaine – was found in a drawer.
The papers also describe several witness statements, including one man who said Hussain walked casually and was smiling as he fired his lethal rounds. The attack only ended after Hussain exchanged fire with two officers and was found dead nearby.
A day after the shooting, Hussain’s parents issued a statement outlining their son’s battle with depression and psychosis. They also decried Hussain’s “senseless violence,” described his actions as “horrific,” and offered condolences to families of the attack’s victims.
In a interview with police, however, Hussain’s father said his son had no mental health issues, the documents show.
Hussain’s mother told police she had never seen her son with a gun, the documents say, but she described him as a loner who had never had a girlfriend.
On the night of the shooting, she “told her son that he should get married and find a nice wife,” the documents state. “He left the house that evening to go for a walk around 8:30 p.m. never to return.”
According to his mother, Hussain didn’t use drugs, had shown no major changes in behaviour and never talked about guns or appeared angry, the documents state. His father described taking him on a trip to Pakistan a few years ago.
“Faisal was happy on the trip and did not want to return because people left him alone there,” the documents cite his father as saying.
The father also told an officer that he forced Hussain to attend mosque “as he does not go willingly” and that his son didn’t smile much and stayed in his room playing video games.
“Faisal’s only companions appear to be his parents and they do not even know him that well and what he has been up to,” Det.-Const. Bobbi-Jo McKillop says in the document seeking authorization to examine Hussain’s electronic devices.
“The only way of understanding the true extent of what occurred or was planned is to go to the only place Hussain spent time ?- which is on these devices.”
No one else has been arrested or identified as a suspect in the shootings.