Eaton Centre shooter sought ‘street justice’ after being stabbed

Eaton Centre shooter sought ‘street justice’ after being stabbed

Christopher Husbands, 29, is accused shooting at a group of young men at the mall’s food court in June of 2012

A man opened fire at Toronto’s Eaton Centre six years ago as a form of “street justice” in retaliation for being stabbed months before, a murder trial heard Monday.

Christopher Husbands, 29, is accused shooting at a group of young men at the mall’s food court on June 2, 2012 killing two of them and injuring six others caught in the crossfire and subsequent pandemonium.

Husbands has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include two counts of second-degree murder, five counts of aggravated assault, one count each of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and reckless discharge of a firearm.

His lawyer, Stephanie DiGiuseppe, said Husbands will testify in his own defence where he’ll admit he was the shooter. But the defence will argue he is not criminally responsible for the crimes due to a mental disorder.

“This is about what happened inside Mr. Husband’s mind during that short period of time when shots were fired in the food court,” DiGiuseppe said in her opening remarks to the jury.

RELATED: Family of Danforth shooting victim Reese Fallon says she won’t be forgotten

Crown lawyer Mary Humphrey told the jury that Husbands wanted retribution for being attacked in February.

“It is the Crown theory that he had a simple plan to shoot them when he saw them,” Humphrey said. “It is the Crown theory that he wanted to execute his own street justice.”

Humphrey said Ahmed Hassan, 24, died on the floor of the food court while Nixon Nirmalendran, 22, died in hospital nine days later due to complications from a bullet wound.

Innocent bystanders hurt in the shooting included a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the head and survived, and a pregnant woman who was trampled in the ensuing stampede as shoppers ran for their lives, she said.

Humphrey said the Crown will show that Husbands and Nirmalendran used to be friends. Husbands, she said, confided in a girlfriend that Nirmalendran was among his attackers on Feb. 28, 2012.

DiGiuseppe said Husbands will testify that Nirmalendran and his younger brother were among the group of men who attacked him that night.

The judge told the jury that Husbands faced a previous trial, but did not say what the outcome was or why he was being retried.

Humphrey said the jury would see extensive video evidence of the shooting and hear how police tracked down Husbands.

She said video shows Husbands standing near a sushi restaurant while his girlfriend bought food. Then a group of five men walked by Husbands, who yelled out at them.

It was 6:22 p.m.

RELATED: Two men from Toronto rap scene shot dead

Husbands ran toward the group and pulled a gun from his satchel and fired 14 bullets into the crowd, she said. He was at the Eaton Centre with his girlfriend and bought a pair of Rollerblades and a jacket from Sport Chek.

Shortly after, they went to the recently renovated food court to eat, Humphrey said.

Around that time, Nirmalendran, Hassan and three other friends — all in their early 20s — had gone to the mall to get some food and to “talk to girls,” Humphrey said.

After the shooting, Humphrey said, video shows Husbands race up the escalators and leave the mall.

The gun has never been found.

“This was an intentional and voluntary act,” Humphrey said of the shooting.

DiGiuseppe said this is a complex case that will feature a variety of mental health experts who will discuss Husbands’ state of mind at the time.

She said he grew up with a mother who was addicted to crack and eventually moved from the United States to Toronto to be with his father.

Husbands grew up in Regent Park and watched a man be executed at the age of 13, DiGiuseppe said.

She said the stabbing in February had a profound effect on Husbands’ mental health, saying experts will testify that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, paranoia and depression, and had nightmares and flashbacks.

Husbands will testify that while at the Eaton Centre, he saw the men who attacked him and believed he heard one of them say to another to shoot him.

“Following this Christopher Husbands will describe feeling disconnected from his own body he felt his arm move up, but did not feel as if he was in control of his arm,” DiGiuseppe said.

“He experienced auditory and visual hallucinations. He has no memory of the events that followed inside the food court.”

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

Music therapist Felicia Wall in the music room at Phoenix Society in Surrey. (submitted photo)
Eclectic album showcases songs recorded by Surrey residents in recovery

Project at Phoenix Society took about six months to complete, with help of music therapist

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Sources team members (left to right) Carrie Belanger, Abby Gemino, Tatiana Belyaeva, Yasmin de Joya-Pagal cheer during the 2020 Coldest Night of the Year event. This year’s event will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Sources photo)
White Rock’s Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser goes virtual

Annual walk raises funds for variety of Sources programs and services

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Most Read