Police: Arrest in deadly Toronto mall shooting

June 4, 2012 - 6:45 PM
Toronto Eaton Centre Shots

June Weekes, left, cries as she leans on Justin Auguste on Sunday June 3, 2012, during a vigil in Toronto for those injured in Saturday's shootings at the Toronto Eaton Centre. The investigation into the deadly shooting rampage that set off a mass panic at the Toronto Eaton Centre focused Sunday on the shooter behind the brazen attack, as police and local authorities reassured the public that Toronto remains a safe city. Weekes was present during the shooting. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Michelle Siu)

TORONTO (AP) — A personal issue apparently sparked the Toronto mall food court shooting that left one person dead and seven others injured, police said Monday.

Police said a man under house arrest for a previous charge turned himself in to police early Monday and was charged with first-degree murder related to the Eaton Centre shooting on Saturday evening.

The dead man, along with an associate who remained in critical condition with gunshot wounds, belonged to the same gang as the suspect, police said.

"Regardless, I do not believe this to be a gang-motivated shooting," said Det. Sgt. Brian Borg, the lead investigator. "I believe there's personal aspects involved."

Police refused to discuss a possible motive behind Saturday's violence.

Wearing a blue hoodie under a grey jacket, Christopher Husbands, 23, appeared briefly in court Monday afternoon as his lawyer tried to cover his face with a notebook.

Husbands, who was remanded in custody until a video appearance Aug. 15, should not have been out of his home at the time of the shooting that sent panicked shoppers scrambling for the exits, police said.

The father of the accused said Husbands was born in Guyana and immigrated to Toronto in 2000. Police said he was known to police.

He reportedly survived a gang attack two months ago in which he was stabbed more than 20 times.

Police said they were not looking for any other suspects in the shooting.

"There was one shooter, one gun," Borg said. "Unfortunately, that gun inflicted a substantial amount of human damage."

Ahmed Hassan, 24, died of gunshot wounds at the scene. A 23-year-old man who was with Hassan in the food court remained in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds to the neck and chest.

In a statement, the Hospital for Sick Children said a 13-year-old boy shot in the head was in fair condition after undergoing surgery and was expected to make a full recovery. The others shot were released from hospital.

The shooting came as a shock to Canadians. Toronto prides itself on being one of the safest cities in North America. Many Canadians have long taken comfort in the peacefulness of their communities and are nervous about anything that might indicate they are moving closer to their American counterparts.