Vaughan, Ont., condo residents supporting each other through shooting aftermath

Residents of a condominium complex north of Toronto are coming together to support one another after five people were killed in a shooting at one of its buildings.

Three members of the building’s condo board were among the victims of Sunday night’s shooting in Vaughan, Ont., that ended with the suspected gunman being shot dead by police. Police have said three of the five people who died were members of the condo board.

Another woman, who’s the wife to a condo board member, was also injured in the shooting but is expected to live. 

Resident Antonio Damuno said he was still shaken by what happened after hearing gunshots in his building on Sunday night.

“I’m so sorry for everybody,” Damuno said while crying.

Patricia Acara said she has been checking in daily with residents and staff at her Vaughan, Ont., complex since Sunday night’s shooting. 

“We’re trying to get through this,” Acara said through tears as she stood outside her building on Tuesday.

“We’re gonna stick together as a community. I think we’re going to become a lot closer.”

A bird's-eye view of the front of a condo building, with parked police cruisers, is photographed by drone
An upscale condo building in Vaughan, Ont., was the scene of a mass shooting on Dec. 18, 2022. (Yan Theoret/CBC)

Bouquets of flowers had been placed in the snow near the entrance of the upscale condominium where the shooting took place. A forensic identification unit truck was parked by the main doors, where police tape could still be seen.

Authorities have said the 73-year-old suspected shooter, Francesco Villi, was a condo resident and used a semi-automatic handgun on his victims before he was shot dead by a police officer on the third floor.

Acara, who lives in the highrise beside the one where the shooting took place, said many residents evacuated from their units on Sunday night were brought over to her building.

She said she brought food and drinks down as the evacuees crowded her building lobby because she wanted to help.

“They said it was very scary. They’re hanging in there,” she said.

Vaughan councillor Marilyn Iafrate dropped flowers by a memorial near the condo complex — one bunch for each of the five victims killed. 

“How can this possibly happen?” said Iafrate, who’s the local councillor for the area the condo is located in.

“We all have issues, we all have things we don’t like … but to go to this extreme to resolve an issue is just unfathomable. I don’t know what to say.”

Police, SIU investigating

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which probes all police-involved fatalities in Ontario, said Villi was shot and killed by an officer in one of the building’s hallways around 8 p.m. ET Sunday and pronounced dead at the scene.

SIU spokesperson Kristy Denette said police found the victims on different floors. She said Villi had a semiautomatic handgun and that investigators don’t believe he exchanged fire with the officer who killed him.

Court documents for a man with the same name indicate a lengthy history of threatening members of the condo board, and at least two condominium managers quit because of him, with security guards quitting or changing shifts to avoid him. Residents also said Villi would swear at them and film them.

They also show he was set to return to court on Monday as the board sought to have him evicted for being a nuisance.

The board was seeking to have a judge find him in contempt for violating a previous order to not contact the board, to stop threatening its members and building staff and to cease posting about them on social media.

York Regional Police have said they are working to determine the motive in what they’ve called a “horrendous” shooting. They have not released the names of those who died.

Mayor of Vaughn Steven Del Duca said that he’s asked facilities across the city to lower their flags to half-mast until further notice in memory of the victims.

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