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‘We’re gonna stick together’: Ontario condo residents help each other after shooting

Authorities say condo resident used a semi-automatic handgun to kill five people at his building
York Regional Police tactical officers attend the scene of a shooting in Vaughan, Ont., Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. Police north of Toronto are working to determine the motive in what they’ve called a “horrendous” shooting at a condo that left five people, plus the suspected gunman, dead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Arlyn McAdorey

Residents of a condominium complex north of Toronto are coming together to support one another after five people were killed in a shooting at one of its buildings.

Patricia Acara said she has been been checking in daily with residents and staff at her Vaughan, Ont., complex since Sunday night’s shooting, which ended with the suspected gunman being killed by police.

“We’re trying to get through this,” Acara told The Canadian Press through tears as she stood outside her building on Tuesday.

“We’re gonna stick together as a community. I think we’re going to become a lot closer.”

Bouquets of flowers had been placed in the snow near the entrance of the upscale condominium where the shooting took place. A forensic identification unit truck was parked by the main doors, where police tape could still be seen.

Authorities have said a 73-year-old condo resident, Francesco Villi, used a semi-automatic handgun to kill five people and injure one other at his building on Sunday night. Villi was shot dead by a police officer who tracked him to the third floor of the highrise.

Police have said three of the five people who died were members of the condo board.

Court documents for a man with the same name as Villi indicate a lengthy history of threatening members of the condo board. They also show he was set to return to court on Monday as the board sought to have him evicted for being a nuisance.

Acara, who lives in the highrise beside the one where the shooting took place, said many residents evacuated from their units on Sunday night were brought over to her building.

She said she brought food and drinks down as the evacuees crowded her building lobby because she wanted to help.

“I brought down a whole plate of fresh fruit, some cookies, snacks for the little kids, a case of water. It would have helped them throughout the night because a lot of them did have to stay here throughout the night,” she said.

Acara said the shooting has weighed heavily on her mind and has her checking in with members of the three-building condo community.

“My husband, myself, my brother and one of my friends … we go down, we make sure that the concierge are OK. They said it was very scary. They’re hanging in there,” she said.

Resident Antonio Damuno said he was still shaken by what happened after hearing gunshots in his building on Sunday night.

“I’m so sorry for everybody,” Damuno said while crying.

York Regional Police have said they are working to determine the motive in what they’ve called a “horrendous” shooting. They have not released the names of those who died.

Mayor of Vaughn Steven Del Duca said that he’s asked facilities across the city to lower their flags to half-mast until further notice in memory of the victims.

—Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Alleged Toronto-area condo shooter believed board conspired to murder him: docs