A TDSB teacher who taught Faisal Hussain almost a decade ago says he previously boasted about wanting to kill someone.
“Ten years ago when he was in my class and I asked him what does he want to do. He said, ‘Oh, I want to kill someone,’” the teacher, whose name Global News agreed to protect, told Global News in a voicemail.
He added Hussain had a blank stare on his face as the comments were made.
When the staff member asked why he wanted to kill someone, he said Hussain uttered, ‘I just feel it would be really cool to kill somebody.’”
Toronto police said a gunman, who was later identified as Hussain, shot and killed two people on Danforth Avenue Sunday night and injured 13 people. Police said an exchange of gunfire ensued and the shooter died of gunshot wounds. Investigators did not say whether Hussain was shot by police or if it was self-inflicted.
Global News spoke with the teacher directly, who confirmed they taught Hussain at Victoria Park Collegiate Institute in 2009 and 2010 and Hussain made the comments privately to him.
The comments were reported to Toronto police and Hussain was apprehended under the Mental Health Act, the teacher said. He said Hussain was later released as it was determined there wasn’t an immediate threat at the time. However, the staff member said the exchange left them “creeped out” for years after. The teacher said they were shocked when they heard it was Hussain, calling the Danforth shooting “a horrible tragedy.”
“All of a sudden I saw him on the news and I thought, ‘Oh my god, that’s the kid I had in my class,’” he said.
“I wrote his name down way back when thinking if this ever happens, you know, and holy S—t it did.”
A statement released on behalf of Hussain’s family Monday evening said he had “severe mental health challenges, struggling with psychosis and depression his entire life. The interventions of professionals were unsuccessful.”
Global News learned that Hussain, according to a police source, who lived with his parents in a seventh floor apartment on Thorncliffe Park Drive, thought he was the Joker from the Batman movies.
“He was fascinated with death and explosions. He also liked replica handguns,” the police source said.
A family spokesperson disputed this but confirmed to Global News that Hussain did once own a BB gun and loved Batman movies but no more than anyone else.
Global News learned that Hussain also attended high school at Marc Garneau Collegiate not far from his Thorncliffe Park home but for some reason left the school and transferred to Victoria Park Collegiate Institute seven kilometres away.
— With files from Erica Vella