Toronto man charged with murder in crossbow triple homicide

Brett Ryan, 35, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder

TORONTO – A Toronto man charged in a triple homicide believed to involve a crossbow will remain in custody at least another week.

Brett Ryan, 35, made a brief appearance in an east Toronto court Friday and was remanded until Sept. 2.

Ryan is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in an incident that shocked an east-end neighbourhood.

The bodies of two men and a woman were found in the driveway of a home in a quiet residential neighbourhood on Thursday afternoon.

Police have said they believe the victims sustained injuries from crossbow bolts, and a crossbow was found nearby.

Police took an injured 35-year-old man into custody immediately after discovering the bodies. They have not released the names of the victims.

Const. David Hopkinson said that in 2008, Ryan was charged in relation to a string of bank robberies.

At the time, Ryan was dubbed the “fake beard bandit” for the disguise he allegedly used, Hopkinson said. He was charged with 14 counts of robbery, 14 counts of wearing a disguise and three counts of possessing dangerous weapons. It’s unclear what happened to those charges.

Police began investigating the slayings on Thursday afternoon after being summoned to a bungalow in the east end of the city in response to reports of a stabbing.

“Indications were that (a) person had been stabbed — their injuries were fairly serious,” Const. David Hopkinson said at the time. “When officers arrived, they found that person and two others suffering from injuries from what we believe to be a crossbow bolt.”

About four hours after the incident, police said there was a link between the deaths and a suspicious package found in downtown Toronto. They said the downtown scene, which was near a building housing a daycare, was declared safe by 5 p.m.

Vijaya Cruz, whose house backs on to the bungalow where the incident is believed to have taken place, said she was home with her husband Thursday afternoon when he heard a commotion.

“My husband said he heard some screaming, someone was screaming there,” she said. “Then he said he heard ‘bang, bang, bang’ noise, and then someone was saying ‘calm down.'”

Cruz said she soon saw the flashing lights of a fire truck which was among the emergency crews that responded to the scene. Police later knocked on her door and told her three people had died in an incident involving a crossbow.

Cruz said she had seen a couple in the bungalow’s backyard on occasion, but said she didn’t know much about them.

Faiza Siddiqui, who lives on an adjoining street next to a park, said the incident was disturbing.

“It’s scary because this park is always full with kids,” she said. “You don’t hear about people being killed by crossbows, especially in the city. I don’t know why you would need that in the city, have it around the house.”

Police said autopsies on the three victims are slated to take place later Friday.

Editor’s Note, Aug. 26, 2016: This story has been edited to remove a name.

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