Gunman in Danforth rampage had prior contact with police: source

New details are emerging about the gunman in Sunday’s deadly rampage on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue.

CBC News has learned from a source close to his family that Faisal Hussain, 29, was apprehended twice by police while he was under age 18. A police source confirmed his prior contact with authorities involved mental health problems.

Toronto police searched Hussain’s apartment in the city’s Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood on Monday afternoon, but have said nothing about a possible motive for the shooting.

According to the police source who spoke with CBC News, investigators recovered a firearm and a computer from the apartment.

The same source says the gun used in the shooting has been traced to the United States and that American authorities are helping to narrow down its origin.

How Hussain, who attended high school at Toronto’s Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute and Victoria Park Collegiate Institute, could have obtained a firearm if he had mental health problems remains unknown to those who knew him. Police on Tuesday would not confirm any details of his medical history, citing privacy legislation.

The police source, however, said there is reason to believe that Hussain may have obtained the firearm used in the attack from his older brother, who is currently in a coma in hospital.

The older brother is known to police for alleged ties to a Thorncliffe Park street gang, the source said.

Asked Tuesday if there was any indication Hussain had expressed support for any extremist groups, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Safety downplayed any national security concerns.

“There is no national security nexus at this time,” Hilary Peirce said in an email to CBC News. Peirce added that local police will continue to lead the investigation.

Hussain did not have a criminal record and his prior contact with police did not involve a risk to public safety, according to Toronto Police Service spokesperson Meaghan Gray

Asked if Canada’s spy agency, CSIS, is involved in the investigation, Gray would not comment specifically but said police routinely call on other law enforcement agencies for assistance.

“This case is no different.”While the search of the apartment is complete, police interviews with witnesses continue as does the work of creating timelines, compiling background information and other digging, including online searches, Gray told CBC News.

“This work takes time,” she said, adding that nothing will be said about a motive until the necessary evidence is obtained.

“We are still in the early stages of this investigation.”

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