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Eaton Centre Shooting Arrest: Christopher Husbands Turns Himself In, Arrested By Toronto Police For Fatal Shooting

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EATON CENTRE SHOOTING
Samuel Getachew lights candles during a vigil at Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday June 3, 2012, for the people injured in Saturday's shooting at Toronto Eaton Centre. The investigation into a deadly shooting rampage that set off a mass panic at the Toronto Eaton Centre focused Sunday on the shooter behind the brazen attack, as police and local authorities reassured the public that Toronto remains a safe city. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Michelle Siu) | AP

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.

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