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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 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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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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