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‘It doesn’t make sense’: Friend of Faisal Hussain expresses shock over Danforth shooting

Click to play video: 'Extended: Friend of Faisal Hussain expresses shock over Toronto Danforth shooting'
Extended: Friend of Faisal Hussain expresses shock over Toronto Danforth shooting
WATCH: Friend of Faisal Hussain expresses shock over Toronto Danforth shooting – Jul 24, 2018

Aamir Sukhera says he still doesn’t want to believe it was Faisal Hussain who was behind the mass shooting in Toronto’s Danforth neighbourhood Sunday night that left two people dead.

Sukhera, who said he viewed Hussain as a little ‘brother’, got the 29-year-old to join a Toastmasters community program eight years ago that Sukhera ran.

“He was shy and reserved. I thought it would be a good idea for him and it might help him open up and speak,” he said on Tuesday.

It was at that program Sukhera said Hussain opened up to him and told Sukhera he suffered from psychosis and depression and that he was seeking professional help for it. But Sukhera said he never saw Hussain as a troubled person and that he was never violent.

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“I felt like an older brother but I guess I wasn’t. I feel bad too right now because I wish I had the ability to identify what triggered this behaviour and I don’t.”

WATCH: How did a man with mental health issues get a gun?

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The last time Sukhera said he saw Hussain was three weeks ago at the mall and everything seemed fine.

“He had a million-dollar smile. He was very upbeat and happy when I saw him,” he said. “I couldn’t tell anything wrong with him.”

Police alleged Hussain opened fire on several groups of people along Danforth Avenue just after 10 p.m. Eight woman and seven men were shot. An 18-year-old woman, who has been identified as Reese Fallon, and a 10-year-old girl died.

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Hussain was later found dead. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), an independent agency that investigates police-involved incidents resulting in death and serious injury, said the gunman exchanged fire with two police officers before attempting to flee the area.

It’s unclear whether Hussain was shot by police or if he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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

For Sukhera, who heard the news Tuesday morning, he said it’s like seeing two different people.

“It doesn’t make sense … It is what it is, it’s on video, but I want to believe that it wasn’t him,” he said.

“I can’t say why he did it or not. I wish he had talked to me about something like this, but do people talk to someone before they do something like that? I don’t know.”

WATCH: What we have learned about Faisal Hussain, Danforth shooting suspect

Click to play video: 'What we have learned about Faisal Hussain, Danforth shooting suspect'
What we have learned about Faisal Hussain, Danforth shooting suspect

According to a statement released on behalf of his family, Hussain suffered from “severe mental health challenges.”

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“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,” the statement said.

“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.”

WATCH: Witness describes chaotic scene of Danforth shooting
Click to play video: '‘I was traumatized’: Witness describes chaotic scene of Danforth shooting'
‘I was traumatized’: Witness describes chaotic scene of Danforth shooting

Police searched the Hussain family’s home in the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood Monday evening hoping to find clues as to why the 29-year-old carried out the rampage.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters on Monday that it was too early into the investigation and didn’t want to speculate on the shooter’s motive.

WATCH: Returning to the Danforth and remembering the victims

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Returning to the Danforth and remembering the victims

“We do not know why this happened,” Saunders said.

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“It’s way too early to relate it to anything. It would not serve justice well.”

With files from Adam Frisk

 

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