Police: Condo resident killed 5 at Toronto-area building
TORONTO (AP) — Canadian police identified the man who shot and killed five people and wounded another at a suburban Toronto condominium as a 73-year-old resident of the building and said three of the five people he killed were on the condo board.
During a news conference Monday, Chief James MacSween of the York Regional Police identified the suspect in Sunday night’s attack in Vaughan, Ontario, as Francesco Velli. He said Velli fatally shot three men and two females and wounded a 66-year-old, who is hospitalized.
“Three victims were members of the condominium board,” he said.
Police said an officer fatally shot Velli inside the building, which is where Velli and the victims lived.
MacSween said police are still investigating the motive for the attack, which occurred at three separate units in the building.
Special Investigation Unit spokesperson Kristy Denette said police found the victims on different floors. She said Velli had a semiautomatic handgun and that investigators don’t believe he exchanged fire with the officer who killed him.
On Sunday and days leading up to the attack, Villi posted rambling videos on Facebook in which he talked about a legal dispute he had with the condo board.
In the videos, he claimed to have health problems caused by the building’s electrical room. The posts include recordings of phone conversations he had with lawyers involved in his case. In one video he posted Sunday, the lawyer for the building noted that the condo corporation had asked him to sell his unit and move out.
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 that 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 show. Justice Joseph Di Luca tossed the lawsuit this summer, calling it “frivolous” and “vexatious.”
According to court documents, the board sought a restraining order in 2018 against Villi for his “allegedly threatening, abusive, intimidating and harassing behavior” toward the board, property management, workers and residents.
York regional police say officers were called to an active shooting at the building at around 7:20 p.m. Sunday.
Residents were evacuated briefly but were allowed to return to their units early Monday after authorities determined there was no further threat to the community.
Resident John Santoro said police went floor to floor to try to find out if anybody else was involved.
“When I opened my door, police were in the corridor. There were two officers right outside my door in the elevator lobby,” he said.
Mass shootings are rare in Canada, and Toronto has long prided itself as being one of the world’s safest big cities. Vaughan is just north of Toronto.
Canadians are nervous about anything that might indicate they are moving closer to the gun violence situation in the U.S., where mass shootings are common.
“Everybody is horrified,” Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca said. “To wake up to this news this morning or see it last night, we are in absolute shock. … This is something I never thought I would see here.”