Vaughan condo shooting victims identified

The five killed victims of a “horrendous” mass shooting inside a Vaughan highrise tower have been identified as three members of a condo board that was the subject of a longstanding campaign by the man who killed them, and two family members.

According to York Regional Police, the five killed are: Current condo board members Naveed Dada, 59, and Rita Camilleri, 57; her partner Vittorio Panza, 79; previous condo board member Russell Manock, 75, and his wife Helen, 71.

A sixth victim, who remains hospitalized with serious injuries, has been identified as Doreen Di Nino, the wife of board member John Di Nino.

Speaking to the Star outside Sunnybrook Hospital emergency department, John Di Nino said Doreen is in “stable condition trying to recover from her injuries.” He added they “hope and expect a full recovery.”

Di Nino described the dead as friends and said those serving on the condo’s board are volunteers who serve their community.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, the Toronto Maple Leafs confirmed that Panza was the grandfather of defenceman Victor Mete, a Vaughan native.

“Our hearts go out to Victor and his family, to all the families and friends of those affected, and to the local community,” the team said.

Marilyn Iafrate, the local councillor who represents the Vaughan ward where the building is located, described Camilleri as an “incredible woman” and “an advocate for her building and for the people in her building,” Iafrate told the Star.

When Camilleri was preparing to run to be a member of the condo board, she had reached out to Iafrate for help.

“I wish I’d never done that,” Iafrate said. “I wish she had never gotten on the board. I’m just so devastated because she was such a good person.”

Dada was a sales representative at a Mississauga-based realty brokerage. Roy Houshmand, the office manager at iPro Realty, remembered him as “a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. Extremely extroverted.”

Houshmand added that Dada worked hard to build his real estate business.

Dada, who according to Houshmand wasn’t married, was an avid cricket fan and keen follower of economic and investment news, according to his social media accounts.

“Our life has changed, and we will never have any sense of normality where we go, where we walk, how we live,” De Nino told the media, adding that hopes the focus will be on the murder victims, not the perpetrator.

“Our home has been taken from us,” he said.

Sunday’s mass killing came at the end of a years-long dispute between the condo board and gunman Francesco Villi, 73; Camilleri, Dada, Russell Manock and Di Nino were all named in a lawsuit a judge recently dismissed as “frivolous” and “vexatious.”

Villi was set to have a court date on Monday, at which the condo corporation was seeking to evict him from his unit at Bellaria Residences complex, on Jane Street near Rutherford Road in Vaughan’s Maple neighbourhood.

York Regional Police were called to the highrise around 7:20 p.m., minutes after Villi started shooting, going door-to-door through three units.

Villi, who was wielding a semi-automatic handgun, was shot by a York Region officer on the third floor and pronounced dead by about 8 p.m.

“I can’t believe that it’s not a nightmare, it’s real,” said board member Tony Cutrone, who was not in the building during the shooting.

Police are still searching for a motive. But in a long series of social media posts and videos, Villi claimed — without evidence — that condo board members were trying to kill him, at one point saying they were “murdering” him for “self-interest and money.”

In a long series of posts littered with Christian iconography and references, often beginning with an unintelligible string of mathematical symbols and emojis, Villi repeatedly complained of the floor vibrating, his bed trembling and a lack of sleep.

In November, Villi posted a photograph of a doctor’s note stating he had “chronic obstructive lung disease” alongside what appears to be multiple photos of bloody phlegm.

Throughout his fights with the board, Villi made wild and unsubstantiated claims about his eventual victims — often laden with insults and incomprehensible claims.

His latest lawsuit baselessly accused six past and present board members — including Camilleri, Dada and Manock — of perjury, extortion, fraud, criminal harassment, criminal intimidation, defamatory libel and slander.

In the lawsuit, which was dismissed as vexatious and frivolous, he claimed the electrical room below his unit was improperly constructed and said “electromagnetic waves” had caused him pain and suffering over several years.

In court documents and on social media, Camilleri was a particular target of Villi’s ire; she submitted evidence that she had modified her behaviour to avoid him by timing her “exits and entrances to the building when he thinks he will not be there because he has been harassing and threatening her.”

One court document includes an email Manock sent last August to the condo manager, in which he complained Villi “turned and made direct eye contact with my wife, stared at her and called her a bastard. People in the elevator and in the common area witnessed the abusive comment.”

Dada also submitted an email to the condo manager in May of this year complaining that Villi had stared at him and spit on the floor.

According to email correspondence with Vaughan city officials obtained by the Star, his complaints with the condo dated back at least five years.

In one email from Vaughan’s former fire chief, it was said a police mental health unit had been involved but Villi “refused any additional services.”

It is not clear whether Villi was the legal owner of the handgun he used. Nor is it clear whether mental health concerns or court orders may have impacted his ability to hold a restricted firearms licence, which would have allowed him to legally own a semi-automatic handgun, a class of weapon that includes familiar police-issue sidearms.

“We have been dealing with this on the board for four years. Things could have changed. It didn’t have to get to this point,” Di Nino said outside the hospital Tuesday. He repeatedly emphasized the need to bolster gun control laws and supports for those struggling with their mental health, saying he would personally advocate for these causes.

“Our family has been put into shambles over a senseless act of violence that could have been avoided.”

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.

Leave a Comment