A 73-year-old man who shot and killed five people at a suburban Toronto condominium building before police officers killed him posted recordings on his Facebook page that he had an upcoming court hearing about a lawsuit in which he claimed that the building’s electrical room was making him sick.
During a news conference Monday, Chief James MacSween of the York Regional Police identified the suspect in Sunday night’s attack in Vaughan, Ontario, as Francesco Velli. He said Velli fatally shot three men and two females and wounded a 66-year-old, who is hospitalized.
“Three victims were members of the condominium board,” he said.
Police said an officer fatally shot Velli inside the building, which is where Velli and the victims lived.
MacSween said police are still investigating the motive for the attack.
Special Investigation Unit spokesperson Kristy Denette said police found the victims on different floors. She said he had a semiautomatic handgun and that investigators don’t believe he exchanged fire with the officer who killed him.
On Sunday and days leading up to the shooting, Villi posted videos on Facebook in which he talked about a legal dispute he had with the condo board.
In the rambling videos, he claimed to have health issues caused by the electrical room. The posts include recordings of telephone conversations he had with lawyers involved in his case. In one video he posted Sunday, the lawyer for the condo noted that the condo corporation asked him to sell his unit and move out.
“Horrendous scene,” MacSween said late Sunday.
The person shot by the suspect was in the hospital and expected to survive, the police chief said..
Police evacuated the building but MacSween said there was no further threat to the community. Residents were allowed to return home early Monday.
“Everybody is horrified,” Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca said. “To wake up to this news this morning or see it last night, we are in absolute shock. … This is something I never thought I would see here.”
Mass shootings are rare in Canada, and Toronto has long prided itself as being one of the world’s safest big cities.
Canadians are nervous about anything that might indicate they are moving closer to U.S. experiences with gun violence.
While it suffers far fewer mass shootings than its American neighbor, Canada has experienced an upsurge in gun violence, which has prompted it to recently legislate to ban handguns.
In April 2020, a gunman disguised as a policeman killed 22 people in the eastern province of Nova Scotia, Canada’s worst mass shooting.
In September this year, a man killed 11 people and stabbed 18 others, mainly in an isolated Indigenous community in Saskatchewan province.
Firearms-related violent crimes account for less than three percent of all violent crimes in Canada — but since 2009 the per capita rate of guns being fired with intent to kill or wound has increased fivefold.
Canada banned 1,500 types of military-grade or assault-style firearms in May 2020, days after the Nova Scotia shooting.
Parliament is currently considering adding more weapons to its prohibited weapons list, but the ruling Liberals have faced some pushback from hunters and sports shooters.
AFP contributed to this report.
- Mass Shootings