In the moments after Danforth Ave. shooter Faisal Hussain put a bullet in his head, the word “Home” flashed on the screen of his ringing cellphone.
Toronto police officers answered it and spoke to his parents, who were unaware their son had just opened fire on a busy stretch of Danforth Ave., killing 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis and leaving 13 others injured.
Police included the cellphone detail in a just-released “information to obtain” (ITO) document, used to seek a warrant to search the home, at 43 Thorncliffe Park Dr., where the 29-year-old lived with his parents.
On Thursday, the Ministry of the Attorney General complied with Superior Court Justice David Corbett’s ruling ordering the partial release of three ITOs connected to the case: two searches of the Hussain family apartment and one of a police locker, containing property — most of it electronics, including cellphones and computers — which was then seized.
Corbett’s ruling comes after separate applications by the Star and other media to unseal the documents. Investigators obtained sealing orders, prohibiting the disclosure of the warrants and their grounds, on the basis that it could “compromise the nature and extent of an ongoing investigation,” according to court documents.
Toronto police Emergency Task Force officers, accompanied by an explosives dog, did not wait for a warrant to search the apartment that night: they entered it under “exigent circumstances, as there was a concern for human life” and a fear that there could be explosives there, according to one of the ITOs.
While Hussain’s parents voluntarily went to a police station, where they were interviewed, the tactical team officers found a sleigh bed with two drawers and located white powder, thought to be cocaine, and an Islamic headdress, among other items Corbett ruled cannot be made public.
Within hours of the carnage, Toronto police were making their case, to present to a justice of the peace, as to why they needed access to Hussain’s electronic communications, and why “the items sought will afford evidence to the offence.”
(Had he lived, Hussain would have been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempt murder.)
“It is reasonable to believe that this occurrence was planned and that items of planning, both tangible and on computer-based systems, will be located within his residence,” Toronto police wrote in the ITOs submitted to a justice of the peace.
“The accused’s electronic communications may have data pertaining to counselling or assisting other people carrying out similar attacks, or provide evidence of others counselling or inciting Faisal Hussain to commit his offence.”
Other previously unknown details emerge from the ITOs about Hussain’s final hours. They were based on police interviews with family members.
Hussain had a twin brother who is married. His first name was redacted in the court documents. On July 22, he was visiting his parents’ apartment. During the visit, at the request of his mother, he spoke to Hussain “about getting his life together, getting married and getting direction,” according to the twin brother’s police statement.
In the past, Hussain was receptive to such advice. But that afternoon he was not, calling himself “mentally retarded” numerous times and disappearing to the balcony for a smoke, the ITO says. Hussain was still at home when his brother left at 9 p.m.
An hour later, when he heard about what happened on the Danforth, his brother sent a text to Hussain telling him to stay home.
He told police his brother was deeply troubled and had “started attending a mosque with his father, but did not seem that interested in religion.” He said Hussain “was into guns when he was young, but has no idea how he would have obtained on(e).” Police have not said publicly where Hussain got his gun. An older brother, who remains in a coma after suffering a drug overdose, was previously arrested for possessing ammunition.
Police also interviewed Hussain’s parents. Both of their first names were redacted by the judge’s order.
His father reported his son took sleeping pills, but did not drink or do drugs. His father also said he took his son to Pakistan two or three years ago to visit family. “Faisal was happy on the trip and did not want to return because people left him alone there,” one of the ITOs says.
When Hussain left the apartment around 9 p.m., he said goodbye to his family. “Nothing seemed unusual. He was wearing a shoulder bag he always wore,” his father told police.
The father added he never saw any evidence of guns in the apartment, nor did his son have any mental health issues. One day after the shootings, the family released a statement saying Hussain had “severe mental health challenges, struggling with psychosis and depression his entire life.”
The ITOs also contain details of Hussain’s interactions with police, including an arrest for shoplifting four days before the shooting, and as a complainant in an unspecified mischief investigation. Toronto police also had three “emotional disturbed person” reports, from 2010, “believed to be the same person as the shooter in this offence.”
Hussain’s mother, contradicting her husband, told police her son had never left Canada. She also told them she had seen no change in his behaviour and that he “never talked about guns and (she had) never seen him angry.”
The ITOs also contain chilling witness accounts from the Danforth that warm summer evening. Area resident Jaspal Singh said he was walking along a laneway when a person behind him said: “Don’t worry, I’m not going to shoot you.” Singh replied sarcastically, “Thanks,” the ITO says.
He told police the male was “smiling as he was shooting.”
Toronto police dispatchers also received a call from someone who said the “shooter stood on top of a woman and shot her four times.”
Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and court. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy
Wendy Gillis is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and policing. Reach her by email at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter: @wendygillis