The 2018 Toronto shooting, known locally as the Danforth shooting, was a mass shooting that occurred on Danforth Avenue in the Greektown neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada on the night of July 22, 2018. Faisal Hussain killed two people and wounded thirteen using a Smith & Wesson M&P .40-calibre handgun. He died by suicide after a shootout with Toronto Police Service (TPS) officers. Despite a year long investigation, authorities were unable to determine a motive for the shooting.
|2018 Toronto shooting|
|Location||Greektown, Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Date||July 22, 2018 |
10 p.m. (UTC−04:00)
|Weapons||.40-caliber Smith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic pistol|
|Deaths||3 (including the perpetrator)|
Around 10:00 p.m. EDT on July 22, 2018, Faisal Hussain walked along Toronto's busy Danforth Avenue in the Greektown area of the city, randomly shooting pedestrians before opening fire on crowded restaurants. The incident began around Danforth and Logan avenues near the restaurant named Christina's. Witnesses described 10 to 15 blasts similar to firecrackers, while others reported hearing gunshots and seeing a man holding a gun. Further along the Danforth at Chester Avenue, witnesses said they saw a man shooting from a sidewalk into another restaurant named Demetre's. The shooter continued to walk westbound on Danforth Avenue towards Hampton Avenue, where witnesses said the shooter crossed the street from the north side to the south side and fired into the 7Numbers restaurant near Bowden Street where one victim was shot. The shooter chose not to shoot certain people he encountered, telling one man, "Don't worry, I'm not going to shoot you." TPS officers responded to calls from witnesses and located the gunman on Bowden Street and initiated a shootout with the suspect. The gunman ran back to Danforth Avenue where he was found dead.
At the corner of Danforth and Logan avenues, police cordoned off an area from bystanders and detonated an unidentified package for undisclosed reasons.
Thirteen others suffered gunshot wounds, ranging in age from 17 to 59. Toronto Paramedic Services transported eight victims to trauma centres – including four people to St. Michael's Hospital, three to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and one to The Hospital for Sick Children. St. Michael's reported it was treating five patients. Three of them underwent immediate lifesaving surgery after the shooting and the others were in serious but stable condition.
|Died|| (aged 29)|
|Cause of death||Suicide by gunshot|
Hussain was born to Canadian parents of Pakistani origin according to people who knew the family. In a public statement, Hussain's parents said that he was psychotic and depressed throughout his life. In 2010, Hussain told a friend that he was seeing a psychiatrist about these problems. A former teacher described him as "very disturbed" and recounted having to take him to a psychiatric facility after he started carving into his face with the blade of a pencil sharpener. Another former teacher called the police after Hussain allegedly said, without prompting, that "it would be really cool to kill someone." His family had been struggling through the death of his sister in a car accident and his brother's ongoing coma after an overdose or a stroke. According to a neighbour, Hussain was not religious and declined to participate in Friday prayers. According to his brother, Hussain had "started attending a mosque with his father, but did not seem that interested in religion."
In 2010, Hussain was investigated by TPS under the provincial Mental Health Act. On July 24, 2018, the Ministry of Public Safety said there is currently no connection between him and national security. He was not on any federal watchlists. Some news reports suggested Hussain was inspired by Elliot Rodger and the incel ideology.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, police did not identify a motive, saying that they were investigating "every possible motive, including terrorism." In June 2019, authorities finished a year long investigation and could not determine a motive for the attack. Regarding the motive, Toronto police chief Mark Saunders said "we may never know why".
On July 23, police executed a search warrant at Hussain's residence in the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood of the city. A day later, CBS News published that, according to a law enforcement source, Hussain visited ISIL websites which may have expressed his support for the Islamic militant group; he was also speculated to have previously lived in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the investigation has revealed that his actions did not appear to be directed by ISIL. On July 25, Amaq News Agency, citing a "security source", stated that he was "from the soldiers of Islamic State", yet Toronto Police said there was no evidence of an ISIL connection. Amarnath Amarasingam of the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue doubted Amaq's claim and said it may have been prompted by the CBS News article.
Since Hussain was found dead after a shootout, the SIU looked into whether he was shot by police or shot himself. On July 23, it removed a police cruiser from the scene and said the two officers in it were being investigated for their roles in the shootout. Hussain's handgun was also seized. On July 25, a police source told CBC News that Hussain died by suicide. The same day, a police source told CP24 that the gun was from the United States and had been obtained from a "gang-related source". A police source later told CTV News it had been stolen in 2015 during a Saskatoon burglary. It may have come to Hussain from his brother who lived at a house in Toronto's eastern suburb of Pickering where 33 guns were seized in 2017.
Residents and business owners in the area started a crowdfunding campaign for funeral expenses of victims who died. Meanwhile, the Canadian Blood Services said that they were closely monitoring response efforts and were encouraging donations in the aftermath of the shooting.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale tweeted their condemnation of the shooting and praise of the police. Ontario premier Doug Ford described the attack as "the most brazen shooting" of a year full of gun violence. Toronto Mayor John Tory called the shooting an "unspeakable act" and an attack on a city with a gun problem. He said he planned to discuss public safety and the legality of guns with provincial and federal officials.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece expressed solidarity and condolence with the city's Greektown. Calvary Church, located near the site of the shooting, held a prayer vigil, joined by a congregation from the nearby Madinah Mosque.
- Warmington, Joe (July 25, 2018). "Danforth shooter was 'armed for war,' sources say". Toronto Sun. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
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- "Toronto gunman a puzzle to his own tight-knit immigrant community". Reuters. July 24, 2018. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
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- "Toronto mass shooter Faisal Hussain previously said 'I want to kill someone': former teacher". July 25, 2018.
- Amanda Coletta (July 27, 2018). "Gun in Danforth shooting stolen in Saskatoon break-and-enter: source". CTV News. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
an overdose left him in a coma in a hospital, where he remains today.
- Brean, Joseph; Edmiston, Jake (July 24, 2018). "Who was Faisal Hussain? Toronto gunman was quiet and 'not normal,' neighbour says". National Post. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
- Powell, Betsy; Gillis, Wendy (September 20, 2018). "Details on Danforth gunman revealed in documents police filed to obtain search warrant". Toronto Star.
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- "Authorities say no link to terrorism in Toronto rampage". Associated Press. July 24, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
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- Jones, Sheena; Park, Madison (July 23, 2018). "Attacker in Toronto rampage that killed 2, injured 13 is identified". CNN. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
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- "ISIL claims responsibility for Toronto Danforth shooting, but police say there's 'no evidence' at this stage", Adrian Humphreys, The National Post
- "'No evidence' Danforth shooter Faisal Hussain connected to ISIS, Toronto police say".
- "Islamic State claims responsibility for Toronto mass shooting, yet provides no evidence".
- "Toronto shooter's gun was illegal, originally from U.S.: source". ctvnews.ca. July 25, 2018.
- "Gun in Danforth shooting traced to U.S., says police source | CBC News".
- Coletta, Amanda (July 27, 2018). "Gun in Danforth shooting stolen in Saskatoon break-and-enter: source".
- Trevor Dunn (July 27, 2018). "Danforth killer had no criminal record, but guns, gangs and drugs weren't far away". CBC. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
Farad Hussain, 31, has ties to a street gang in the Thorncliffe Park area of Toronto, and may have once possessed the handgun his brother used in the Danforth shooting.
- Yousif, Nadine (July 23, 2018). "How you can help the Toronto shooting victims". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
- "Feds looking at ways to tackle wave of gun violence in Toronto: Minister". ctvnews.ca. July 23, 2018. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
- Flanagan, Ryan (July 23, 2018). "'Confidence is shaken': How will Toronto respond to gun violence?". CTV News. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
- "Greece ‘in Solidarity’ with Canada Over Toronto Shooting", by Tasos Kokkinidis, The Greek Reporter
- "Suspected Danforth shooter's family cites psychosis, 'severe mental health challenges,' after SIU identifies him as Faisal Hussain, 29, of Toronto". Toronto Star.
- Statement from family of Toronto gunman, July 23, 2018
- "Faisal Hussain ID'd as gunman in deadly Danforth shooting spree".
- "Sports world shows support for Toronto in wake of tragic shooting". Sportsnet. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
- Media related to Danforth shooting at Wikimedia Commons