Ac­cused sought ‘street jus­tice’

Man al­legedly shot at group of men at ea­ton cen­tre six years ago

Tillsonburg News - - ONTARIO NEWS - LiAM CASEy

tOrOntO — 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.

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. 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.”

THe CaNa­diaN Press files

Christo­pher Hus­bands ar­rives in court in Toronto on June 4, 2012. Hus­bands has pleaded not guilty to all 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.

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