Toronto Suspect Had Yearslong Dispute With Condo Board

3 members of board among the dead in Toronto-area shooting
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2022 12:11 AM CST
Suspect in Toronto Mass Shooting Killed 3 Members of Condo Board
Residents leave flowers outside a condominium building the day after a shooting in Vaughan, Ontario, on Monday Dec, 19, 2022.   (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press via AP)

Police have not yet identified the five victims killed in a rare mass shooting in the Toronto area Sunday night, but they said Monday that all of them were residents of Bellaria Residences, the condo building in Vaughan where the shootings took place, and that three of them were members of the five-person condo board. The other two board members, John Di Nino and Tony Cutrone, were not hurt, but Di Nino's wife was shot and seriously injured, the CBC reports. She is expected to survive. The three men and two women killed were shot in three separate units of the building, which the CBC calls an "upscale" complex. Meanwhile, it was revealed that after a years-long dispute between the suspect and the condo board, the board was in the process of asking a court to force the suspect to sell and vacate his residence in the building, CTV News reports.

Police identified the alleged gunman, who was shot and killed by a police officer in a third-floor hallway, as 73-year-old Francesco Villi, a resident of the building. Court documents show that in 2018, the condo board took legal action against Villi, alleging harassment, and that Villi filed a lawsuit against six directors and officers of the condo board in 2020, alleging they "committed acts of crime and criminality from 2010 onwards" related to an electrical room beneath his unit. That case was dismissed by a judge this summer who deemed it "frivolous," but the 2018 case was ongoing. "Mr. Villi believes that the electrical room which sits beneath his unit is improperly constructed, resulting in the emission of electromagnetic waves which have caused him significant pain and suffering over the years," the judge wrote in his decision to toss Villi's case.

"Mr. Villi believes that the board members of the corporation have actively engaged in efforts to intentionally harm him, likely at the behest of the powerful developer who built the condominium," the decision continues. Court documents show Villi had repeatedly breached a court order in the 2018 case by acting in an "aggressive and sometimes threatening manner" toward board members and building security guards, and that multiple residents had complained about him. At a court date that had been set for Monday, the board was going to ask a judge to find him in contempt, but the hearing never took place due to the shooting. "I'm still in shock. I can't believe that's the way he decided to go out and I hate that he took people with him," Cutrone says. (A recent shooting in Rome targeted a meeting of an apartment block residents' association.)

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