Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Panicked' Eaton Centre Killer Believed He Was Going to Die before Shooting

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Panicked' Eaton Centre Killer Believed He Was Going to Die before Shooting

Article excerpt

Killer claims little memory of mall shooting

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TORONTO - The man who unleashed a 14-shot fusillade in a crowded food court testified on Tuesday that he believed he was about to die just before he opened fire in a landmark tourist and shopping centre.

Testifying in his own defence, Christopher Husbands also said he does not remember exactly what happened in those terrifying seconds when he said he looked up and saw two men he believed were about to shoot him.

"I was afraid, I was panicking. I wasn't expecting to see these people. They just came out of nowhere," Husbands said.

"I was shocked. I was caught off guard."

Video surveillance footage shows Husbands opening fire, including pumping several shots into a man lying on the ground.

It all happened so fast, he said.

"I heard a loud bang. It just seemed like everything got kind of dark," he said.

"I realized I was just standing, looking down at this shadow."

Husbands said he doesn't remember bolting for the escalator as terror gripped the Eaton Centre food court.

"People were ducking and screaming. It didn't make sense to me," he said, his voice faltering at times.

He said he stumbled home in a daze.

When he got to his apartment, he said he turned on the television and learned there had been a shooting at the downtown mall.

"I just felt so sad," he said.

On the stand for a second day, Husbands said he had only gone to the Eaton Centre on that Saturday evening in June 2012 at his girlfriend's urging.

An attack that almost killed him several months earlier had left him paranoid and wary of crowds.

"I was still having nightmares. I was still having flashbacks," he told the jury.

The prosecution maintains Husbands, now 25, of Toronto, opened fire in a deliberate revenge shooting, killing two people and wounding five others.

The accused, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, denies that. …

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