What we know, and don’t know, about Vaughan condo shooter Francesco Villi

Francesco Villi is the man whom police believe, in a mass shooting Sunday evening, killed five people and wounded a sixth in a Vaughan condominium building at 9235 Jane St., a 16-storey highrise just north of Rutherford Road. Here is what is known and not known about Villi.

Who is Villi?

Police identified Villi, 73, as the suspected shooter. The condo board at the Vaughan highrise had filed a restraining order against Villi’s “allegedly threatening, abusive, intimidating and harassing behaviour,” according to court documents. Villi had been in a dispute with board members, whom he believed were out to harm him. In September, a judge dismissed his claims against three condo board members and three others as “frivolous and/or vexatious.”

Where did the gun come from?

It’s not yet known where the gun came from. The province’s Special Investigations Unit has said a semi-automatic handgun was used in the mass shooting, which ended with a York Regional Police officer shooting Villi, who then died in what had been described as an “active shooter” situation.

Was the gun illegal?

We don’t know. Handguns can be legally owned, and legal owners in Canada are subject to strict rules around owning, storing and transporting of firearms. Court-imposed restrictions, such as those typically imposed in bail or a restraining order, can result in legal gun owners losing access to firearms. Villi was subject to a restraining order application related to the condo board. The application was filed in 2018.

What was Villi’s connection to the victims?

Police have said three of the five deceased are condo board members. It is not clear if the three are current or former condo board members. Documents list five people as current board members. Police said all of the victims lived at the condo, and of the dead, three were adult males and two were adult females. A 66-year-old woman was “seriously injured” and remained in hospital Monday. The shootings happened in three locations within the building.

Is mental health a factor here?

Having a mental illness does not mean one is necessarily violent. One person who knew Villi described him as “ill,” and another said he needed “professional help.” Social media accounts under Villi’s name feature videos in which he rails against his treatment. In a video posted to Facebook on Sunday afternoon, Villi, in tears, said: “Can I die in peace? (It’s been) seven years of torture.”

With files by Star Staff


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