Guyanese man charged in fatal Toronto mall shooting
Canadian media are reporting that Guyana-born Christopher Husbands, 23, has been charged with the Eaton Centre, Toronto, Canada shooting, in which one man died and six persons were injured. He is to appear in court today.
Toronto police said today that Husbands who was born in Guyana and migrated to Toronto in 2000, has been arrested. According to the Toronto Star Police sent a Twitter message at 7 a.m. to announce the arrest and have scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. to provide details. Husbands was charged with first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder after he turned himself into police at 2:20 a.m. Monday.
The report said that word came 36 hours after the crowded downtown mall erupted in pandemonium as a man opened fire in a food court, killing one man and wounding six other people.
“Whether this is a gang-motivated shooting has not been definitely determined,” Det. Sgt. Brian Borg, the lead homicide investigator of the case, said Sunday.
“It is being closely looked at, given that at least one of the victims has known gang associations.”
Police believe a 23-year-old man in hospital in critical condition, with bullet wounds to his neck and chest, may have had gang ties.
The dead man, 24-year-old Ahmed Hassan, was known to police, authorities said.
He died when the gunman opened fire around 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
A 13-year-old boy remains in critical condition with a gunshot wound to his head but was improving, police said on Sunday.
Four others injured by gunshots were treated and released from hospital.
A seventh person, a pregnant woman apparently knocked over in the panic, spent the night at St. Michael’s Hospital when she went into labour, but the pains stopped and she was released Sunday, the Toronto Star report said.
The Toronto Star reported tonight that the suspect’s father said he had become wrapped up in gang violence and that that changed everything.
Toronto police told the Star that Husbands had been previously charged with an unrelated offence and was under house arrest and facing other charges at the time of the shooting.
Police said the shooting was not gang-related as it was more of a personal feud. They however confirmed that both the victim and gunman were part of the same gang.
“Our investigation continues to suggest this is a targeted shooting and not a random act of violence against the public,” Det. Sgt. Brian Borg, the lead homicide investigator, said at a news conference today, the Star reported.
“There was one shooter and one gun,” he said. “Unfortunately, that gun inflicted a substantial amount of human damage.”
Police are not looking for other suspects, but Borg said the men were travelling with other people, the Star reported.
The two suspected gang-associated victims encountered the shooter in a case of “happenstance,” the detective said. “It was not a planned meeting.”
“I don’t think it was intended. I think they came across each other unfortunately in a very bad location.”
The Star said that the police would not identify the gang that the shooter and the victim were part of. Acting Deputy Chief Jeff McGuire said police don’t want to give publicity to the gang by naming it.
Burchell Husbands, the accused’s father, told the Toronto Star that he is fearful that his family will face retaliation from opposing gang members. “Right now the whole family’s scared,” he said. “We don’t know who’s going to come here just now.”
Burchell Husbands said his son doesn’t live with him and hasn’t since he was 18 and moved out of the family home in Regent Park.
The Star reported that Christopher Husbands, the second youngest of four siblings, followed his father to Toronto. Burchell Husbands came in 1993.
At the time of the shooting Christopher Husbands was living alone in the King and Bathurst Sts. area, his father said.
The Star said that the shooting accused has a 5-year-old daughter with an ex-girlfriend.
Burchell Husbands said as a child his son was quiet and happy and got along well with his siblings.
At 15 or 16 years old, he started getting in fights at school and was known to police for possession of marijuana.
“He was in and out of trouble,” Burchell Husbands said. “I tried to beg him to keep out of trouble.”
He dropped out of high school and started moving with gangs in Regent Park, Husbands said.
He added that two months ago Christopher Husbands survived what is believed to be a gang attack by six people when he was stabbed more than 20 times.