Eaton Centre shooter Christopher Husbands sentenced to life in prison
Husbands killed 2 people and injured several others in 2012 shooting
The man convicted of killing two people and injuring several others in a shooting at the Eaton Centre food court in Toronto has been sentenced to life in prison.
Christopher Husbands was found guilty on two counts of manslaughter in a jury trial in February.
Husbands was also convicted on five counts of aggravated assault in connection with the attack in June 2012, when he fired 14 bullets into the crowded food court.
Husbands will receive credit for time already served, meaning he will be eligible to apply for parole in 16 months. He will be 32 at that time.
One of the surviving victims told reporters outside the courthouse that he's concerned about Husbands being released.
"I feel scared for everybody in Toronto," said Connor Stevenson, who was 13 at the time of the shooting. He survived being shot in the head.
"I hope there's not another 13-year-old kid who's going to get shot in the crossfire."
Defence lawyer Dirk Derstine said his team was disappointed in the life sentence, which is the maximum punishment for manslaughter. He added that it is unlikely his client will be granted parole at the first available opportunity.
"Mr. Husbands is a resilient and optimistic person," Derstine said. "He is legitimately remorseful for this."
Husbands admitted at trial that he was the shooter, but defence lawyers argued Husbands should be found not criminally responsible, telling the court he was in a dissociative state at the time of the attack.
The Crown acknowledged Husbands suffered from PTSD due to a stabbing months earlier, but said he was carrying out a vendetta against his attackers.
The Crown says it has already filed a notice of appeal. Derstine said he has "every expectation" that the defence will also appeal the sentence.
Husbands was previously found guilty of two counts second-degree murder in connection with the shooting, but that conviction was set aside due to what the Ontario Court of Appeal determined was improper jury selection.
He was originally sentenced to at least 30 years of parole ineligibility, in what was then unprecedented consecutive sentences for second-degree murder.
Court heard the shooting happened in 2012 when Husbands was at the popular downtown mall with his girlfriend and went to the food court after purchasing in-line skates and a jacket from Sport Chek.
Husbands pulled a gun from his satchel when a group of five men walked by him. He then fired 14 bullets in the crowded dining area, setting off a stampede as frightened shoppers ran for their lives.
Two men were killed in the shooting. Ahmed Hassan, 24, died on the floor of the food court while Nixon Nirmalendran, 22, died in hospital nine days later.
Six others were hurt, including Stevenson and a pregnant woman who was trampled by fleeing shoppers.
With files from The Canadian Press