Danforth killer had no criminal record, but guns, gangs and drugs weren't far away

The man who shot and killed multiple people on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue last Sunday had no criminal record, but illicit activity — including guns, drugs and street gangs — was not far from Faisal Hussain.

Brother of Faisal Hussain once lived at Pickering home where police found huge stash of guns, drugs

Faisal Hussain seen in a Victoria Park Collegiate 2009 year book photo. Hussain killed two people and injured 13 in a shooting rampage in Toronto. (Victoria Park Collegiate)

The man who shot and killed multiple people on Toronto's Danforth Avenue last Sunday had no criminal record but illicit activity — including guns, drugs and street gangs — was not far from Faisal Hussain.

Last Sunday, 29-year-old Hussain opened fire into several restaurants and businesses on the busy Toronto street.

Firearms allegedly found in a home connected to the brother of Danforth Ave. gunman Faisal Hussain. (Durham Regional Police Service)

Reese Fallon, 18, of Toronto, and Julianna Kozis, 10, of Markham both died. Thirteen others were wounded.

Hussain then exchanged gunfire with police officers before fatally shooting himself in the head, according to a police source.

Police are investigating Hussain's background and where he might have obtained his weapon. 

Court records show Hussain's older brother had a troubled past including criminal charges and a connection to a home in Pickering, east of the city, where police seized 33 firearms and a large stash of the powerful illegal drug carfentanil.

Following his shooting rampage, Hussain's family released a statement saying he suffered from mental health problems for much of his life, including psychosis.

According to a family friend, mental health was the reason behind two interactions Hussain had with Toronto police in previous years. He was never charged with a crime.

Julianna Kozis, left, and Reese Fallon, right, were killed after a deadly rampage in Toronto's Greektown Sunday night. (Toronto Police Service/Facebook)

Brother's criminal past

The same is not true for Hussain's older brother.

A police source previously told CBC News, Farad Hussain, 31, has ties to a street gang in the Thorncliffe Park area of Toronto, and may have once possessed the handgun his brother used in the Danforth shooting.

Fahad was charged with drug possession twice, in 2014 and 2015, court records show.

In February 2017, he was charged with possessing a weapon, ammunition and breaching previous bail conditions.

He was bailed out with $10,000 by his friend Maisum Ansari and ordered to live in a Pickering home Ansari owned.

Later that year, court records show Hussain suffered a drug overdose. He has been in a coma ever since. The 2017 charges against him have been withdrawn due to his condition.

Guns and drugs found

In September 2017 — after Farad overdosed and left the home — firefighters responded to a carbon monoxide call at the same home and noticed a suspicious substance in the basement.

Durham Regional Police later obtained a search warrant and found 33 firearms, ammunition and more than 40 kilograms of the potentially lethal drug carfentanil.

In court documents, the street value of the drugs is estimated to be as much as $20 million.

Ansari, 34, was charged with more than 300 firearms-related offences and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Babar Ali, 30, of Toronto, has also been charged.

Ansari was released on $100,000 bail and must reside with his wife in Oshawa, Ont. Neither Ansari nor his lawyer responded to inquiries from CBC News.

Ansari's Pickering home on Liatris Drive, where the guns and drugs were seized, was recently sold for $740,000, according to property records.

Investigations continue

Two parallel investigations into the Danforth Avenue shooting rampage are still in their early stages.

Toronto police this week searched the Thorncliffe Park apartment where Faisal lived with his parents. A police source told CBC News investigators seized a firearm and computer.

Police said Wednesday they have "no evidence" that the deadly shooting was connected to ISIS, though the group claimed responsibility.

Faisal Hussain, 29, lived with his mother, father and brother in a highrise in Toronto's Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood. Neighbours and friends described him as quiet but mild-mannered and always polite. (Adrian Cheung/CBC)

"At this stage, we have no evidence to support these claims," said Chief Mark Saunders.

At the same time, Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, is probing Faisal's death and interaction with police on the night of the shooting.

The SIU investigates police activity involving the death, serious injury or sexual assault of a civilian.

About the Author

Trevor Dunn

Trevor Dunn is an award-winning journalist with CBC Toronto. Since 2008 he's covered a variety of topics, ranging from local and national politics to technology on the South American countryside. Trevor is interested in uncovering news: real estate, crime, corruption, art, sports. Reach out to him. Se habla español. trevor.dunn@cbc.ca