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Toronto man, 35, charged with murder in crossbow incident that left three dead

Police and paramedics stand in the driveway of a house in Scarborough, Ont., on Thursday, August 25, 2016, after three people were killed in a crossbow attack.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pascal Marchand
August 26, 2016 - 9:38 AM

TORONTO - A 35-year-old Toronto man is facing murder charges in a triple homicide police said appeared to involve a crossbow.

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, and on Friday announced that he had been charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

Brett Ryan is scheduled to appear in court later on Friday. Police 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.

Property records show the bungalow where the 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 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.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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