Estranged daughters of condo gunman say he was ‘abusive husband and father’
'We are grieving for the families, and they are in our hearts'
By Jordan Omstead and Liam Casey
A gunman who went on a shooting rampage at a Toronto-area condo was a “controlling and abusive husband and father” who was estranged from his children, his three daughters said as they expressed their shock at what happened.
Francesco Villi killed five people — three condominium board members and two of their partners — in a shooting at his Vaughan, Ont., highrise on Sunday night before police shot him dead.
Three daughters of the 73-year-old gunman said they were “deeply heartbroken” for the victims’ families.
“We offer our heartfelt condolences. We are in absolute shock and utter devastation,” the daughters wrote in a statement shared Wednesday by the Special Investigations Unit, Ontario’s police watchdog.
Villi had an aggressive, “Jekyll and Hyde”-type personality, the daughters said, and a history of domestic abuse against both mothers of his children and his daughters.
“Francesco Villi was a controlling and abusive husband and father,” they wrote.
The daughters, whose names were not provided, said they had been estranged from their father for more than five years.
“His children tried to have some form of a relationship through the years and many offers of help were continuously denied, leaving them no choice but to cut off ties with him for their own health and well-being,” the statement read.
Villi had a history of threatening condo board members and was embroiled in a lengthy court battle involving the board, legal documents show.
Court documents indicate he believed the electrical room beneath his unit was improperly constructed and emitting electromagnetic waves.
The condominium corporation took him to court in an attempt to have him stop allegedly threatening behaviour towards board members, residents and staff. Villi countersued. A judge eventually tossed Villi’s claim, finding it was absent of facts and vexatious.
Villi was to be due back in court Monday after a judge found “significant evidence” the man had violated earlier court orders by making aggressive and sometimes threatening remarks to condo staff. As penalty, the board was set to ask the judge to compel Villi to sell and vacate his unit.
The afternoon of the shooting, and a day before that scheduled court hearing, a video was posted to Villi’s Facebook page.
“Everybody are working to destroy me,” he said during a 16-minute video laced with religious language and references to a biblical cataclysm.
At one point, he singled out a board member, calling her a “monster” and the “main demon” in the condominium. Hours later, she was killed.
Armed with a semi-automatic handgun, police allege Villi went door-to-door and gunned down board members Rita Camilleri, Russell Manock, and Naveed Dada. Camilleri’s husband, Vittorio Panza, and Manock’s wife, Lorainne Manock, were also killed.
Doreen Di Nino, the wife of the board’s president, was shot but survived.
“We are grieving for the families, and they are in our hearts,” the statement from Villi’s three daughters read.
The daughters said their statement was the only one the family would make and asked for privacy.
“We are grieving for the families, and they are in our hearts,” the statement reads.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2022.
Banner image via The Canadian Press