‘Life is never going to be the same:’ Husband of woman injured in Vaughan shooting speaks out

The husband of a woman injured in a mass shooting at a Vaughan, Ont. building on Sunday that left five people dead has spoken out about the incident, saying he believes the gunman targeted his wife and the others who served on the building’s condo board.

John Di Nino told CP24 that his wife remains in serious condition at a local trauma centre and that she recently went through extensive surgery but he and his family are “hoping that she’s on the road to recovery.”

Di Nino and his wife are residents of the building where the shooting took place and Di Nino says he serves on the condo board.

“I want to extend my deepest sympathy to my friends; those people that were killed by this tragic event, some of those people were my colleagues, my friends and served on the board with me,” Di Nino said Tuesday afternoon.

“To my partner, my wife, who was a victim of this senseless tragedy. To her children, my grandkids that are trying to process this, my wife’s sisters and all of our extended family. This is not supposed to happen.”

York Regional Police (YRP) Chief Jim MacSween confirmed on Monday that at least three of the five victims who were fatally shot were members of the condo board.

The suspected gunman, identified as 73-year-old Francesco Villi, had a long history of legal disputes with the board and was set to appear in court the day after the shooting took place, documents show.

Villi was shot dead by an YRP officer Sunday night after police arrived at the scene.

  • Timeline of the mass shooting in Vaughan, Ont.

Di Nino told CP24 that he was in the building at the time of the shooting and that he witnessed his wife being shot inside their unit.

“I don’t want to get into the details, [but] I was there when the gunman targeted my wife,” Di Nino said.

“I just keep seeing everything over and over again. Last night I did get a couple hours of sleep but I have to say that it was really nightmare-ish.”

Di Nino says he believes the victims of the mass shooting were targeted by Villi, adding that the condo board had been “dealing with this for a number of years;” in reference to Villi’s reported displeasure with the board.

“As condo board members, we are volunteers. We do the best for our community. We’ve been dealing with this for a number of years, we’ve been before the courts,” Di Nino said.

“If you look at the victims that were impacted; all of the deceased, they resided on our board, or previously resided on our board. And the fact that the gunman approached our unit and targeted my family only leads me to believe that it was a targeted intent.”

Flowers are left outside a condominium building the day after a shooting in Vaughan, Ont., on Monday Dec, 19, 2022. Police say six people are dead, including the suspect, after a mass shooting in an apartment building in Vaughan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Arlyn McAdorey 

Di Nino is also the national president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), which represents 35,000 transit workers in Canada.

He said he’s speaking out about the shooting because as a leader, he’s compelled to help people.

“As a leader, it’s part of our DNA to go out and help people but sometimes you have to go to those leaders and ask: are you okay?”

Di Nino says he’s been supported by his and his wife’s family through the tragedy, but said he believes that changes to gun laws and more mental health support needs to be a priority in Canada to prevent something like this from happening again.

“We need to do better. How the assailant acquired a gun is going to be determined by the police investigation, [but] how we control how they use them; it needs to be better, there needs to be better laws to protect us,” Di Nino said.

“People shouldn’t have access to these assault weapons, these semi-automatic guns. If people want to go hunt, let them go hunt but not in our communities. Not in our homes.”

Di Nino said he and his family are strong and they’ll make it through this, but he offered his condolences to the five victims who were killed in the shooting.

“We are going to work through this and we’re going to survive,” Di Nino said.

“But for those who lost their family members and their loved ones; my colleagues, my friends in that condo, my heart goes out to you guys – this was totally avoidable.”

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