Danforth Shootings Findings Released

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 2 p.m. June 21, 2019

Chief Mark Saunders released the findings of the investigation into the July 22, 2018 mass shootings on Danforth Ave. near Logan Ave. that resulted in the deaths of an 18-year-old woman and 10-year-old girl.

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Chief Mark Saunders speaks to the media about the investigative findings of the Danforth shootings

Reese Fallon, 18, and 10-year-old Juliana Kozis were killed while 13 other victims – ranging in age from 10 to 59 – were treated in hospital.

While the investigation findings may help to provide some closure for the victims and their families, Saunders said it does not offer all the answers as to why it occurred.

At a news conference at police headquarters on June 21, he said the unprecedented step of committing to releasing the investigative findings was done for two reasons.

“It was done out of compassion for the families and to acknowledge the impact of this tragic and violent attack on our citizens and community,” Saunders noted. “Our disclosure contains a high level of detail that we don’t typically release. In fact, in my 36 years of policing, this is the first time the Toronto Police Service has prepared and released investigative findings in the scope of what we are providing today.”

The Chief said police sought to answer many questions during the investigation.

“The one question that the families and the public want to know is ‘Why?’,” he said. “Although we have collected all the evidence that was available to us for this crime, a crime where the shooter died at the scene, we may never know the answer to ‘Why?’”

The shooter was identified as Faisal Hussain, 29, of Toronto, by the Special Investigations Unit, which investigates incidents where police are involved in a death or a serious injury.

A post-mortem revealed that his injuries were consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Saunders noted that investigators attempted to gather information about every aspect of the shooter’s life.

“In this process, we interviewed acquaintances, employers and family members,” he said. “We obtained records from hospitals and schools, and we seized evidence from his home. We followed his digital footprints, reviewed his phone records and analyzed his electronic devices.”

Danforth Shootings Investigation Findings news conference

The detailed investigation concluded that the shooter had an extensive history of mental health issues that were first documented in 1998.

“His background details chronicle a troubled individual who was clinically treated for violence against himself and an outward expression of violent thoughts,” said Saunders.

The shooter first came in contact with Toronto Police in 2010 when officers transported him to hospital for mental health evaluations following an incident involving self-harm at school.

A psychiatric evaluation completed at the request of the Toronto District School Board placed him in the upper end of the intellectual deficiency range and, over, his academic years, Hussain’s behaviour caused teachers and school staff to raise concerns about his mental health and the safety of students and staff.

Referrals were made to the TDSB Social Work department six times between 2001 and 2010 and a risk assessment completed in this time frame concluded that he was a medium to high risk for violence.

Diagnosed in June 2010 as having an antisocial personality disorder, Hussain was referred a month later to a health team that was better equipped to address his reported mental health struggles. He began seeing a mental health professional on August 3, 2010.

His treatment adherence over the next four years was inconsistent and his last documented appointment with a mental health professional was in May 2014. In November that year, he refused further medial treatment and a mental health health professional suggested that his family doctor refer him to a forensic psychiatrist.

There are no records to indicate that this occurred.

Hussain, who didn’t have a criminal record, was transported to hospital by police on three occasions between May 14, 2010 and February 15, 2014 under authority of the Mental Health Act.

Just two days before the Danforth shooting, he was arrested after attempting to steal ice cream. He was released without being charged.

The investigation found that he wasn’t affiliated with any radical ideologies, hate groups or terrorist organizations. He also never applied for nor was granted a firearms license.

“Investigators have not received information from other police services that Hussain had acted in a way that had warranted previous investigation,” said Saunders.

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Detective Sergeant Terry Browne speaks to reporters regarding the investigation into the Danforth shootings on July 22, 2018

The day after the shooting, investigators seized multiple cellular phones, laptops, electronic and data storage device after executing a search warrant at Hussain’s home. None of the devices contained information that would provide any motive for his actions the previous day.

Investigators also obtained his cell phone records. None of the records or conversations on any topic provide insight into Hussain’s mental state, illegal activities, extremist views or hatred for a location or group. They also seized an empty gun box, AK 47 magazines loaded with bullets and hundreds of rounds of loose and boxed ammunition in a variety of calibres. A soft rifle case and a trigger guard were also seized.

In addition, police found heroin, MDMA and phenacetin, which is cutting agent for street-level drugs, in Hussain’s bedroom.

Saunders said the quantity of drugs and packaging suggest the drugs were not for personal use.

“A toxicological analysis of Hussain’s blood revealed no significant findings,” the Chief added.

D/Sgt. Terry Browne, the lead investigator in the case, said Hussain’s behaviour did not change on the day of the shooting.

“Through all the people we have spoken to, the people that he worked with and his family, the day in question was no different than any other day,” he said. “That is to say he went to work, he went home and he was with his family. Conversations took place and there was nothing that anyone has relayed to us that suggests that he was in crisis on that day. So when he left his home that day for the last time, there is nothing we have learned that suggest that anyone could have foreseen this was going to happening the next hour.”

Through the investigation, Browne said no one was involved in assisting the shooter.

“That been said, if new information comes to light, then we will revisit everything,” he added. 

Hussain used a Smith & Wesson firearm that was stolen from a gun shop in Saskatchewan.

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