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Cache of ammunition, 9/11-conspiracy films seized from Danforth shooter’s home, documents reveal

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Nearly six months after Toronto’s deadly Danforth Avenue shooting rampage, newly released details from court documents reveal a startling amount of ammunition was found in the apartment of gunman Faisal Hussain, along with a number of DVDs by the American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

In the hours after the shooting, which claimed the lives of 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis, police entered Hussain’s highrise apartment in the city’s Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood.

According to details revealed Tuesday, a sniffer dog trained to detect explosives zeroed in on a bedroom, locating two AK-47 magazines, two 9 mm handguns — all fully loaded — other handgun and shotgun ammunition, and a white powdery substance.

Hussain, 29, died of a self-inflicted shot to the head after a gunfight with officers on the night of July 22, 2018, a police source previously told CBC News. Police found cocaine on his body and a cellphone, still ringing with a call from « home. »

The court documents — less heavily redacted versions of those released in the fall — don’t offer a clear picture of Hussain’s motive, but do show he had access to a large cache of ammunition when he left home for the Danforth neighbourhood, never to return.

9/11 conspiracy films among items seized

Also found in the bedroom were DVDs, mainly involving 9/11 conspiracy theories, including three by Jones, the founder of the far-right conspiratorial website Infowars. Those were The Road to Tyranny, Terror Storm and American Dictators.

« His anti-establishment conspiracies were picked up by extremists of all stripes, » said Amarnath Amarasingam, senior research fellow at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue.

The Jones films feed into the view that Western governments are « not to be trusted, that most of what we see is a sham, and that some mysterious powerful elite was secretly orchestrating, for their own benefit, most of the evils that we see in our societies, » Amarasingam said. « The 9/11 conspiracy theories are part and parcel of this kind of thinking. »

Other titles included Painful DeceptionsIraq for SaleWeapons of Mass Deception and one bearing the handwritten title « What is Islama. »

The documents also say investigators found two receipts for cash payments totalling $9,310 to a community housing facility in Rawalpindi, a district in the northern part of Pakistan’s Punjab province. Hussain’s father told investigators he had taken his son to Pakistan two to three years earlier to visit family.

While there, he said in the documents, « Faisal was happy on the trip and did not want to return because people left him alone there. »

Hussain, 29, lived with his mother, father and brother in a highrise in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood. (Adrian Cheung/CBC)

Shooter had no real friends, family says

Hussain had no real friends, his twin brother told police. On the day of the shooting, Hussain arrived home around 2:30 p.m. He and his brother talked about Hussain « getting his life together, getting married and getting direction, » according to the documents. 

During the conversation Hussain repeatedly referred to himself as « mentally retarded, » before going out to the balcony for a cigarette.

Hussain’s mother told police her son saw a psychiatrist, while his father told police he didn’t have any mental health issues. His brother said Hussain wanted to kill himself and had been on anti-depressants.

Video posted on social media showed Hussain dressed in black pulling out a gun and firing at least three shots into Danforth restaurant. (@ArielAnise/Twitter)

But while Hussain had no criminal record, as CBC News previously reported, guns, gangs and drugs weren’t far away. Court records show Hussain’s older brother, Farad Hussain, in a coma in hospital since early 2017, had ties to a Thorncliffe Park street gang. A police source previously told CBC News he may have once possessed the handgun his brother used in the Danforth shooting. 

As part of their seizure, police also obtained a number of electronics including a laptop, two iPads and various cameras. In the documents, police argued that the « only way of understanding the true extent of what occurred or was planned » was to go through a number of the devices seized. 

Toronto police did not immediately respond to comment about the status of the investigation, the results of their electronic search, updates on Hussain’s motive or if any other charges are outstanding.

The province’s police watchdog says it intends to release its findings on the case « in the coming days, » said spokesperson Monica Hudon.

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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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