The Toronto mass shooting in Greektown has left two people dead and 13 more wounded, after a 29-year-old man clad in black started randomly shooting people with a handgun. The circumstances have a lot of people wondering: Is it terrorism and a terror attack? Could ISIS or some other terror group be involved?
Conflicting reports emerged about whether the suspect might have allegiance to ISIS. CBS News reported, through a source, that Hussain may have expressed support for ISIS. The Toronto Sun reported that “files being reviewed by police include concern Hussain expressed ‘support’ for a website that was seen as ‘pro-ISIL.'” However, CBC quoted Toronto police as saying they have “no evidence” the mass shooting was “connected to ISIS.”
On July 23, 2018, Police Chief Mark Saunders was asked directly about the terrorism question in his first news briefing, and he said it’s not clear yet whether the mass shooting is terrorism or not. Essentially, police haven’t ruled it out, though. Police have provided no further update on that front. Toronto police wrote: “14 victims were shot with a handgun. 1 female adult has died. 1 young girl in critical condition. Suspect is dead (not included in 14 victim total).” They later said a second person had died.
The shooter has now been identified as Faisal Hussain. You can read more about him here.
The woman who died has been named as Reese Fallon. According to CP24, she was “a recent high school graduate from Toronto’s Malvern Collegiate Institute, and planned to study nursing at McMaster University.”
The suspect has only been identified so far as a 29-year-old man from Toronto. He was killed after a shootout with police, although it’s not clear yet whether the wound was self-inflicted. He opened fire – it appears randomly – on people who were at restaurants and cafes in Toronto’s popular Danforth area in Greektown. You can see video that appears to show him open fire below. Be aware that it’s disturbing.
Toronto’s Special Investigations Unit said on July 23 that it’s still working to confirm the suspect’s identity.
Toronto police later confirmed: “16 people shot in total (includes shooter), 8 women (including 10yr old girl) and 8 men. Three have died, (18yr old woman, 10yr old girl and the shooter). That leaves 13 still in hospital with minor to life-changing injuries.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Some News Sites Have Claimed, Via Sources, That the Suspect Might Have Allegiance to ISIS
CBS News is reporting, through a source, that Faisal Hussain “visited Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) websites and may have expressed support for the terrorist group. They were looking into whether Hussain may have lived at one time in Afghanistan and possibly Pakistan…There is no indication that Hussain was directed by ISIS to carry out the attack.”
The Toronto Sun also reported that Hussain may have lived in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and this was being investigated. “Hussain apparently had been spoken to by authorities about his online activities. Sources say Toronto Police, the OPP and the RCMP have all had an interest in the now-deceased shooter,” the Sun reported.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack but provided no evidence to back that claim up. The terror group sometimes makes false claims in a bid for media attention. Hussain was not on any federal watch list.
Authorities have not officially said this, however. Canada’s Ministry of Security later said there is “no national-security nexus” to the investigation.
“At this stage, we have no evidence to support these claims,” said Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders. “We will continue to explore every investigative avenue including interviewing those who knew Mr. Hussain, reviewing his online activity, and looking into his experiences with mental health.”
In his first news briefing after the shooting rampage occurred, the police chief, Mark Saunders, said he was entertaining all motives as possibilities when he was asked specifically about terrorism. Disturbing video emerged that appears to show the man opening fire. You can watch it above. It was first posted on Instagram, but the Instagram user then deleted her page, although Heavy viewed it on the original site before that came down.
“I’m keeping everything open. Looking at every single possible motive for this; when you have this many people struck by gunfire, it’s a grave concern,” said Toronto Police Chief Saunders. “I certainly want to find out exactly what it is, so I am not closing any doors or any chapters on this. I certainly don’t want to speculate… I don’t know why he did what he did, and he won’t be able to tell us because he is deceased.”
In a second press conference on July 23, 2018, the chief said authorities still are not certain of the motive and would not speculate. “We do not know why this has happened yet,” he said, adding that the victims range in age from 10 to 59. The people in the hospital have injuries ranging from minor to serious, he said.
He said that the first victim who died was a female and a child ages 8 or 9 was critically injured. The age of the second victim who died is not yet clear. The chief said the suspect died after an “exchange of gunfire” with police, and that he used a handgun. Police have also said in a news release that the man “was walking along the street on Danforth Avenue when he began shooting at groups of people several times.”
It’s not the first mass tragedy to strike Toronto. Alek Minassian is accused of ramming a van into pedestrians, killing 10 people, earlier in the year. He had “praised mass shooter Elliot Rodger and referenced a misogynistic online community of angry celibate men in a Facebook message,” reported Telegraph. Minassian was part of something called the “Incel” movement.
According to Vox, Minassian “pledged allegiance to something called the ‘Incel Rebellion.’ This is not an organized militant group but rather an ideal developed by the so-called ‘incel’ movement — an online community of men united by their inability to convince women to have sex with them.”
A Witness Described the Gunman Executing & Shooting People With a ‘Horrible Expression’ on His Face
One aspect of the mass shooting that has raised terrorism concerns: Police detonated a “suspicious device” or “suspicious package” at the scene, but they haven’t described it yet. “Nearby at Danforth and Logan, police officers moved bystanders back from the area, saying they had to detonate a package. It’s not clear what was detonated,” the Globe and Mail reported. However, the detonation may only have been a precaution.
Andrew Mantzios, a witness, described the shooter as having “this horrible expression on his face” as he fired, seemingly randomly. “And then a lady tried to run and she fell down,” he told Globe and Mail. “He turned around and shot her point blank, two or three times.” He said the suspect shot into businesses, including Caffe Demetre, a dessert shop. Christina’s Restaurant was also near the shooting scene.
Mantzious told the news site that a woman was “executed,” and added that people were “falling all over the place – maybe seven, eight, nine of them.”