Police have named the gunman who killed five people at a condo building in Vaughan on Sunday before he was shot dead by an officer.
York Regional Police Chief Jim MacSween said during an afternoon press conference Monday that 73-year-old Francesco Villi died after an interaction with an officer on the third floor of the building.
The officer who shot Villi is a 24-year veteran of York police.
“He very likely saved lives by his actions last night,” MacSween said.
Among the victims who died were three men and two women, all of whom lived at the building. They were killed in three separate units on different floors, MacSween said.
A sixth victim, a 66-year-old woman, was seriously injured in the shooting and remains in hospital.
Earlier on Monday, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 confirmed that Doreen DiNino, wife of the union’s Canada president, had been injured in the shooting.
“We are grateful to learn that she has survived this horrific incident and is undergoing emergency surgery today,” said a statement issued Monday.
MacSween noted that three of the victims were members of the condo board.
The Office of the Chief Coroner will confirm the identities of the five deceased victims, which have not yet been released by officials.
The mass shooting happened at a building on Jane Street, just north of Rutherford Road. Officers responded to the scene at 7:21 p.m.
MacSween said they were there on scene within around three minutes and 20 seconds but it wasn’t clear how long it took them to locate the gunman.
The province’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which is investigating the suspect’s death, said the gunman was pronounced dead at 8 p.m.
MacSween was asked about the timeline at the press conference and didn’t provide comment, adding that’s the “first I’ve heard of this 8:00 timeframe.”
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Police still investigating motive, but suspect was involved in dispute with condo
As for the motive, MacSween said officers were still investigating.
“The motive for the shooting remains part of this very complicated, very fluid investigation, which is still ongoing at this time,” MacSween said.
“Multiple search warrants are and will be executed and we continue to interview witnesses and until that’s complete, we can’t rule anything out. But rest assured, detectives in the homicide bureau are working diligently to find the answers in this horrible incident.”
However, Global News has learned that Villi was involved in court action against the condo and a number of residents talked about an ongoing dispute between him and the condo board.
Social media accounts run by Villi include a number of videos where he rambles about living conditions at his condo, including one posted just before 2 p.m. Sunday.
Global News was in court Monday morning where Justice Mary Vallee confirmed Villi was dead.
“My information is that Mr. Villi passed away last night, so I hear there are other details about what happened that are in the media,” Vallee said.
Referring to a court case, Vallee went on to say, “This particular action that he has brought against the condominium corporation and the city has been stayed.”
The court clerk then asked if that also applied to the counter claim, to which the judge responded yes.
The Canadian Press reports that Villi filed a lawsuit against six directors and officers of the board in 2020. He alleged the board members “committed acts of crime and criminality from 2010 onwards.”
Villi alleged the directors had deliberately caused him five years of “torment” and “torture” related to alleged issues with the electrical room below his unit, court documents said.
Justice Joseph Di Luca tossed the case this summer, calling it “frivolous” and “vexatious.”
Court documents show the board sought a restraining order in 2018 against Villi for his “allegedly threatening, abusive, intimidating and harassing behaviour” towards the board, property management, workers and residents.
The video Villi posted Sunday shows him calling a member of the condo board a “monster” and alleging building owners, condo board members, lawyers and judges are conspiring against him.
“Everybody are working to destroy me,” he said during the 16-minute video, glasses perched on his nose. “I will never become one of you – liars, demons – never.”
A reporter asked MacSween about the issues between Villi and the condo board members and whether that is a big part of the investigation.
“Well, it will be part of the investigation, but it isn’t the only part of the investigation. We have to look at every aspect of it,” he said.
“And one of them will be what is his relationship to the victims, what is his relationship to the board. But I can’t report or confirm any of that information yet because we’re still interviewing people and conducting search warrants.”
MacSween said he didn’t have information on whether or not Villi was a registered gun owner.
Suspect shot dead in hallway, used semi-automatic handgun: SIU
In a media briefing at noon Monday, a spokesperson for the province’s police watchdog said the gunman used a semi-automatic handgun.
The suspect was believed to have been shot dead by one officer in a hallway and there wasn’t an exchange of gunfire, the Special Investigations Unit spokesperson said.
MacSween expressed condolences for the victims and their families. Family liaison officers are supporting the victims’ families, as is Victim Services of York Region, he said.
— With files from The Canadian Press, Catherine McDonald and Hannah Jackson