Crown paints scene of chaos as murder trial begins for alleged Eaton Centre shooter


TORONTO — The trial of a man facing murder charges in connection with a shooting at Toronto’s Eaton Centre six years ago got underway on Monday.

Christopher Husbands, 29, is accused of opening fire on 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.

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.

Crown lawyer Mary Humphrey says 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.

Humphrey says the 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.

The judge told the jury that Husbands faced a previous trial, but did not say what the outcome was or why there is a second trial.

Humphrey said the jury will 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, before pulling his gun from his satchel and begin firing, Humphrey said.

Humphrey said Husbands’ defence team will say he is not criminally responsible for the shooting due to a mental disorder.

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

The Canadian Press