No evidence to support Islamic State claim over Toronto shooting, say police
The terror group claimed one of its ‘soldiers’ had carried out the attack.
Officials in Canada have found no evidence to support the Islamic State group’s claim of responsibility for Sunday’s mass shooting in Toronto that killed two and injured 13, police said.
IS claimed that one of its “soldiers” carried out the attack in response to its calls to target citizens of the US-led coalition battling the group.
The claim appears on one of its social media channels, and a security member of IS was quoted speaking to the group’s Amaq news agency.
Toronto police chief Mark Saunders said that all areas of the Toronto Police Service have been involved in the investigation and they have received assistance from law enforcement partners at every level.
“At this stage, we have no evidence to support these claims,” he said.
Mr Saunders said officials will continue to explore every investigative avenue, including interviews and reviewing the online activity and mental health experiences of dead gunman Faisal Hussain.
Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has also said there was no national security risk following the attack.
Hussain died after an exchange of gunfire with police. His family said he suffered from lifelong “severe mental health challenges” including psychosis and depression and had not responded to numerous treatment approaches, including therapy and medication.
Late on Tuesday, authorities identified the 10-year-old girl who was slain as Julianna Kozis of Markham, Ontario.
Toronto police released a photo of the smiling young girl and said her family had asked for privacy during their time of grief. Police previously identified the other person killed in the shooting as 18-year-old Reese Fallon of Toronto.
Julianna was involved in synchronised swimming, and her Markham Synchro Club issued a statement calling her “a beautiful, aspiring athlete”.
The city of Markham paid tribute to Julianna by lowering flags and opening a book of condolence. The girl’s photo and a memory book sat on a table inside Markham City Hall, surrounded by delicate pink rose petals.
“Right now we need to focus on respecting the family’s wishes for privacy as they deal with a horrible loss,” Mayor Frank Scarpitti said on Wednesday. “When we heard it was a 10-year-old girl from Markham, all of our hearts dropped.”
The mass shooting in Toronto’s Greektown neighbourhood stunned people in a normally safe city, already unsettled by an attack just three months ago when a man used a van to hit pedestrians, killing 10 people and injuring 14 in an attack apparently aimed at women.