Toronto man charged in 3 crossbow murders

Associated Press

Toronto — A 35-year-old Toronto man was charged Friday with murder in the deaths of three people who suffered from what appeared to be crossbow wounds.

Brett Ryan made a brief appearance in a Toronto court and was remanded into custody until Sept. 2. He faces three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths that shocked a quiet residential neighborhood in the city’s east end. The slayings were discovered Thursday.

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

Police took the injured man into custody immediately after discovering the bodies. They have not released the names of the victims.

Constable 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.

Property records show the bungalow where the crossbow incident happened is listed in the name of Susan Ryan. She previously co-owned the home with William Ryan, who records show died last year.

Police said there was a link between the crossbow scene and a suspicious package investigation in a condo on Toronto’s waterfront. The condo was evacuated as police cordoned off the area but the package was later cleared.

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 a ‘bang, bang, bang’ noise, and then someone was saying ‘calm down.’”

Cruz said she soon saw the flashing lights of a fire truck that 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.