TORONTO - An unspecified personal issue apparently sparked the bloody weekend gun rampage that left one man dead and two people badly wounded, including a teen who was shot in the head during a family outing at one of Canada's top tourist spots.
A man under house arrest for a previous charge turned himself in to police early Monday and was charged with one count of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder related to the Eaton Centre shooting.
The dead man, along with an associate who remained in critical condition with gunshot wounds, belonged to the same gang as the accused, police said.
"Regardless, I do not believe this to be a gang-motivated shooting," said Det. Sgt. Brian Borg, the lead investigator. "I believe there's personal aspects involved."
Police refused to discuss a possible motive behind Saturday's violence.
Wearing a blue hoodie under a grey jacket, Christopher Husbands, 23, appeared briefly in court Monday afternoon as his lawyer tried to cover his face with a notebook.
Husbands, who was remanded in custody until a video appearance Aug. 15, should not have been out of his home at the time of the shooting that sent panicked shoppers scrambling for the exits, police said.
The presiding justice of the peace barred Husbands from contacting the victims of the shooting and, according to media reports, the names of those victims are now under a publication ban at the request of the Crown.
The father of the accused said Husbands, who has a five-year-old daughter with an ex-girlfriend, was born in Guyana and immigrated to Toronto in 2000.
Burchell Husbands told the Toronto Star that gangs had destroyed his son's life.
Two months ago, Christopher Husbands survived what his father believed was a gang attack by six people when he was stabbed more than 20 times, the Star reported.
"He was a good guy coming up," Burchell Husbands said. "He was good."
"Gang changed everything."
Police said they were not looking for any other suspects.
"There was one shooter, one gun," Borg said. "Unfortunately, that gun inflicted a substantial amount of human damage."
Ahmed Hassan, 24, died of gunshot wounds at the scene. A 23-year-old man who was with Hassan in the food court remained in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds to the neck and chest.
In a statement, the Hospital for Sick Children said a 13-year-old boy from Port Hope, Ont., was in fair condition after "complicated neurosurgery" and was expected to make a full recovery.
"He is alert and talking," the statement said.
The boy was enjoying an afternoon going to a movie with his mother and older sister when they got caught up in the food-court shooting, said a relative, who asked not to be named.
She said the entire family was still in shock.
"This has hit very close to home," the relative said.
"It's devastating. You never think something like this is going to happen to your family."
In all, six people were hurt in the shooting and a pregnant woman needed brief hospital treatment after she was trampled in the mayhem that followed.
The Eaton Centre reopened to business Monday but the Urban Eatery remained closed — the only obvious sign of the terrifying weekend chaos.
Most said they felt safe although one retailer, Michael Mayne, admitted to feeling a "little tense" as he began his work day in the mall.
"I'm a little on the edge," Mayne said. "If it's a gang-related situation, it doesn't stop there."
Eaton Centre spokeswoman Meredith Vlitas declined to discuss the situation.
"We're really trying to resume normal business operations as quickly as possible," Vlitas said.
"We would like to give our customers, tenants and staff the opportunity to recover from this tragedy and give everyone a chance to put this behind them."
Mayor Rob Ford said he believed Toronto to be the "safest city in the world" and encouraged people to visit and enjoy the hotels, attractions and restaurants it offers.
The terrible crime was an "isolated incident" and does not reflect on daily life in the city, Ford said.
Still, some of the injured boy's relatives expressed frustration with what they said was the lack of gun control in Canada, saying it was leading to the victimization of innocent people.
"These gangs seem to be just terrorizing towns and cities and families," the relative said.
— With files from Allison Jones.
Flowers lie at the door as a member of a cleaning crew is pictured in the empty foyer of Toronto's Eaton Centre on Sunday, June 3, 2012. Police continue to investigate the Saturday's shooting which resulted in one death and seven injuries. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Members of a cleaning crew are pictured in the window of Toronto's Eaton Centre on Sunday, June 3, 2012. Police continue to investigate the Saturday's shooting which resulted in one death and seven injuries. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
A police officer is pictured in the empty foyer of Toronto's Eaton Centre, as a colleague and his police cruiser is reflected in the window, on Sunday, June 3, 2012. Police continue to investigate the Saturday's shooting which resulted in one death and seven injuries. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS
Toronto police order bystanders to clear a path so EMS can move the injured to transport. (Brian Trinh)
A male gunshot victim lies on the floor at the Urban Eatery food court in Toronto's Eaton Centre as EMS tends to his wounds. (Brian Trinh)
A female victim lies on the second floor at the Eaton Centre as EMS tends to her injuries. (Brian Trinh)
Male gunshot victim lies on the floor at the Urban Eatery food court in Toronto's Eaton Centre. (Brian Trinh)
Mall security officers escort workers during the chaos. (Brian Trinh)
Toronto police seal off entrances to the Eaton Centre to conduct their interior search. (Brian Trinh)
The intersection of Yonge and Dundas was blocked off while Toronto police conducted their search for the shooter. (Brian Trinh)
The scene outside the Queen Street entrance of the Eaton Centre on Saturday, June 2, 2012. (Brian Trinh)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford watches the activity outside the Eaton Centre in Toronto, Saturday, June 2, 2012. A shooting that sparked mass panic at Toronto's Eaton Centre killed one person Saturday and injured seven others. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Victor Biro
The Toronto Star has spoken with accused gunman Christopher Husbands' father, Burchell Husbands, who says he is scared his family will face relation from gang members.
“Right now the whole family’s scared,” he told the Star. “We don’t know who’s going to come here just now.”
According to Husbands, his son became involved in Regent Park gangs as a teenageer and recently survived an attack that left him with 20 stab wounds.
Toronto Police have released a photo of Ahmed Hassan, the 24-year-old man killed at the Eaton Centre.
Police have also posted a transcript of their statement from today's press conference here.
The man killed in the Eaton Centre shooting was facing charges in Fort McMurray, Alta. for drug trafficking, reports the CBC.
Hassan was charged with trafficking cocaine in January 2010 along with five others.
CBC also reports that Hassan was a suspect in the murder of one of his co-accused.
Christopher Husbands made his first court appearance today, reports the Globe and Mail.
Husbands, 23, is charged with one count of murder and six counts of attempted murder.
There are also reports of a gun being fired downtown just a few hours before the Eaton Centre shooting in the Alexanda Park neighbourhood, reports the Globe:
Mike Spicer said he heard gunshots and saw a man running east -- in the direction of the Eaton Centre -- while holding a gun. The man was running toward Spadina on a street several blocks south of College Street, Mr. Spicer said.
“We heard three shots fired, and we just said, ‘Oh, it sounds like a gun,’” he said. “And all three of us looked that were in the car and there was a guy running down the street toward us with a gun.”
He said the man was holding a handgun in his right hand as he ran. He described him as black and said he was wearing a grey hoodie and loose-fitting black jeans.
Police have so far declined to comment on reports of the Spadina-area shooting.
Councillor Adam Vaughan said it’s not clear how, or if, the two incidents are related. “For a while it looked like the two were directly connected, but they are part of the same issue we’ve been managing, or trying to manage, without any resources,” he said. “But it’s unclear now how intricately the two are related.”
|@ acoyne : Cops say suspect had just got out of jail (5 yrs) for crimes related to 2005 "Summer of Gun." http://t.co/S5mAvv2x|
"It's been a terrible couple of days," said Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at the press conference, repeating that he believes Toronto is the safest city in the world.
In response to a media question about city youth outreach, he said that he doesn't "think we need more youth workers. Proof is in the pudding, crime is going down every year."
Det. Sgt Borg: "I do not believe this to be a gang-motivated shooting."
He added, "I believe there's personal aspects involved."
Det. Sgt. Brian Borg has confirmed that 23-year-old Christopher Husbands of Toronto will be charged with one account of first degree murder and six accounts attempted murder.
Husbands surrendered to police at 2:20 a.m. last night with his lawyer present. He was under house arrest at the time of the shooting.
The autopsy of Ahmed Hassan was completed yesterday and the official cause of death is gun shot injuries.
The 23-year-old man still in hospital with neck and chest remains in critical condition.
The 13-year-old boy "continues to improve" and Det. Sgt. Borg says he is "extremely happy to report that both he and his family are doing well in spite of all that they have endured."
|@ TorontoPolice : Anyone with photo/video from shooting homicide at Eaton Centre is asked to send it to TPS Homcide via http://t.co/uQqXmfbS ~wd|
|@ dwightdrummond : In an hour Toronto police will identify Christopher Husbands as the suspect in the Eaton Centre shooting.|
|@ kimberlyviv : In the Eaton Centre... Urban Eatery is dead... So weird to see it that way.|
|@ KatieSimpson24 : I'm told the Eaton Centre shooting suspect is either in his 20s or very early 30s. Further arrests are not expected. Full details coming up|
|@ MarinaStrauss : Scene of the crime @ eaton centre. Pple staring down at fOod court in disbelief. Closed today. Reopening tomorrow http://t.co/7VnPhm3n|
The suspect in the shooting case turned himself into police last night at 2:30 a.m., accompanied by his lawyer reports the Globe and Mail.
Toronto Police will be providing an update on the suspect this afternoon.
|@ globeandmail : Torontonians remain unafraid in wake of Eaton Centre shooting http://t.co/1Cd0Cofi (from @globetoronto)|
Nick Kalakonis, 22, was hit in the thigh by a bullet, but considers himself lucky his injuries ended there.
|@ globeandmail : Relatives of Eaton Centre shooting victims share their views on Toronto http://t.co/kcBa21bX (from @globetoronto)|
|@ globeandmail : Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty respond to the Eaton Centre shooting http://t.co/Y1CVFTWh|
|@ HiMYSYeD : Message written on Eaton Centre Door. #EatonCentreShooting #Toronto http://t.co/3yKMfaru|
Thirteen-year-old boy who suffered the most serious injury in the Eaton Centre shooting showing "signs of improvement," according to the National Post. Infographic details all known facts about the victims.
|@ Usualsuspectguy : At the vigil for the Eaton Centre shooting that happened yesterday taking place at Younge & Dundas Sq http://t.co/b4B1JjW4|
A vigil for the Eaton Centre shooting victims will take place at Yonge-Dundas Square at 6 p.m.
The Facebook page advertising the vigil reads:
"On June 2, a horrible event happened in Toronto. Someone went into one of the city's favourite places, and decided to open fire. They killed one person, injured a few more, and the resulting chaos resulted in two more injured.
This is not Toronto."
|@ stephaniesmyth : #Toronto #EatonCentre to re-open for business tomorrow; however food court - scene of fatal #Mallshooting - to remain closed until Tuesday.|
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford began his Sunday afternoon radio show with a statement on the Eaton Centre shooting.
"Every heart in Toronto was torn last night, as we all learned about the horrible tragedy that resulted from a senseless, cowardly crime," he said. Read the full statement on Blogs.canoe.ca.
Both Toronto Police and Mayor Rob Ford are stressing that this is an isolated incident and Toronto is still a safe city.
"This is one very large horrific event, but it's not the state of the city of Toronto, it's an isolated incident," said deputy chief Jeff McGuire. "Please do not gauge the city on what we saw yesterday."
Ford called Toronto the "safest city in the world" and encouraged people to "go downtown, enjoy themselves, go out with their family, continue to live as they do."
Police are releasing very few details about the investigation, only that the abundance of security cameras has proved "extremely fruitful" for investigators.
They are asking anyone who was at or around the Eaton Centre at the time of the shooting and has any information to call the homicide squad or Crimestoppers.
Anyone with photos or video from the scene are especially being urged to aid police in their investigation. Det. Sgt. Borg said police will release more details tomorrow on how witnesses can send in photos and video.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford described yesterday's shooting as "very upsetting as the mayor and as a father. It wasn't a good day yesterday."
Ford is confident that the shooter will be caught.
"We will apprehend the suspect, I guarantee it," he said. "We're not going to tolerate this in our city and we will make an arrest."
At a press conference, Det. Sgt. Brian Borg confirmed that the police believe they have identified the shooter, but have not released any details on their identity. As well, police say there is a possible gang connection as at least one of the victims has know gang ties.
"Our investigation clearly suggests this is a targeted shooting and not a random act of violence," said Det. Sgt. Borg.
He said police have not ruled out that there was a second target among the victims.