July 23, 2018 5:52 pm
Updated: July 24, 2018 10:16 pm

Toronto gunman had ‘severe mental health challenges,’ according to family

WATCH: New details have been revealed about 29-year-old Toronto Danforth shooter Faisal Hussain, including that he was on the police radar for mental health issues dating back to 2010. Catherine McDonald has more.

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The parents of a gunman who killed two people and injured 13 others in Toronto on Sunday night said their son suffered from “severe mental health challenges.”

The shooter was identified by investigators as 29-year-old Faisal Hussain.

READ MORE: Toronto Danforth mass shooter identified as Faisal Hussain

Faisal Hussain was identified as the gunman in the Toronto Danforth shooting that took place on July 22, 2018.

Handout/ Hussain family friend

“We are at a terrible loss for words but we must speak out to express our deepest condolences to the families who are now suffering on account of our son’s horrific actions,” Hussain’s family said in a statement.

READ MORE: He plotted to bomb Times Square for ISIS. Records show he’s mentally ill. Is he a terrorist?

“We are utterly devastated by the incomprehensible news that our son was responsible for the senseless violence and loss of life that took place on the Danforth.”

Police were on scene searching his Thorncliffe Park Drive apartment Monday night, in which he was said to live with his parents.

WATCH: Family of Toronto Danforth mass shooter speaks out

According to a source who has met the family, Hussain was the son of Canadian parents of Pakistani origin who have been struggling through major challenges.

Hussain’s sister died in a car accident and his brother is hospitalized following a stroke, the source said. Hussain worked in retail and would accompany his mother to the hospital to visit her infirm son.

They had no idea Hussain had acquired a gun, the source said.

READ MORE: Reese Fallon, 18, identified as victim of Danforth shooting

A 10-year-old girl and an 18-year-old identified as Reese Fallon were killed after the gunman began firing at restaurant patrons along Toronto’s busy Danforth Ave. strip at about 10 p.m. Sunday.

Thirteen others, ranging in age from 17 to 59, were wounded.

WATCH: What we have learned about Faisal Hussain, Danforth shooting suspect (WARNING: Disturbing content)

Following an exchange of gunfire with two police officers, Hussain’s body was found nearby.

The Special Investigations Unit is investigating the death of the alleged killer.

At a news conference, Toronto police said the motive for the attack was unclear but the family’s statement framed it as a mental health matter.


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“Our son had severe mental health challenges, struggling with psychosis and depression his entire life. The interventions of professionals were unsuccessful. Medications and therapy were unable to treat him. While we did our best to seek help for him throughout his life of struggle and pain, we could never imagine that this would be his devastating and destructive end,” the statement said.

“Our hearts are in pieces for the victims and for our city as we all come to grips with this terrible tragedy. We will mourn those who were lost for the rest of our lives.”

But it remains unclear what drove him to carry out what had the appearance of a planned attack, or why he chose to target Toronto’s Greektown neighborhood.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims said they were “shocked an angered by this shooting attack.”

“There can be no justification for such acts of brutal violence. We urge everyone to wait for the police investigation to provide answers about this devastating situation before speculating about motive,” officials said in a statement.

Stewart.Bell@globalnews.ca

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