Just thought this might be interesting to some of you.
TORONTO (CP) - A man who told police he was bent on going on a murderous rampage believed people in his native New Brunswick were nice, so he planned to gun down people in Toronto instead - until a friendly dog changed his mind about the city's residents.
The man drove from the Maritimes with a carload of guns and ammunition intending to kill as many people in Toronto as he could, he told police. But a last-minute encounter with a woman and her dogs in a lakefront park convinced him Torontonians are nice too.
"He wanted to start a killing spree," said Det. Sgt. Bernadette Button. "He didn't indicate why, but (did say) that the people in the Maritimes were nice so he thought he'd come up to Toronto."
By chance, he encountered a woman walking her two dogs.
"One of the dogs approached him and it was playful and they got into a bit of a tug-of-war," Button said.
"He decided that the people in Toronto were nice and he didn't want to continue with his operational plan."
James Stanson, 43, was charged with eight weapons-related offences after a man surrendered to police Wednesday in front of a supermarket in the peaceful east-end neighbourhood known as the Beaches.
Stanson, wearing a scruffy light-brown jacket, appeared in court Thursday afternoon after being examined by a psychiatrist. A scruffy beard and moustache obscured lacerations on his round face.
Justice Richard Schneider ruled the accused would undergo further psychiatric assessment before June 30 and appear again in court for a progress report on July 14. At that time, the court will decide whether Stanson is mentally fit to stand trial.
Stanson was also remanded to the hospital unit of a Toronto jail so that he can be placed under suicide watch.
Police said a man had a loaded gun in his pocket and a car crammed with more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition and had intended to start firing in the park on a sunny summer afternoon.
The man was a dog owner and his car was packed with doggie blankets and a big plastic dog dish still filled with dry kibble. Police said he had left his own dog in New Brunswick.
Stanson lived in a small, white bungalow that he bought in Wood Point, N.B., three years ago, ATV News reported Thursday.
He lived alone there with as many as five dogs at one point.
A former neighbour, Marion Daye, told ATV News she didn't like Stanson, but said it was obvious he loved animals.
"You knew he loved dogs because they were always with him," she said.
Gladys Wood described him as friendly, but on his own terms.
". . . he'd go in somebody's yard and take his dogs in, let them run all over their garden, whatever," Wood said.
"When he was asked to leave, he'd stand there, do strange things, and laugh at you."
After visiting the Toronto park, the man, who police described as mentally ill, drove around the city looking for a police officer.
Const. Fraser Douglas, 25, was responding to a shoplifting call in front of the nearby supermarket when the man drove up behind his cruiser and honked his horn.
"He asked the officer who he approached for (psychiatric) help, or he was going to do something serious," Button said.
At that point, the man said he had intended to go on a shooting rampage.
Officers tallied the cache Wednesday night, counting carton after carton of bullets.
The list included: a 12-gauge shotgun, a bolt-action rifle with a telescopic lens, a 9-mm semi-automatic, a machete, throwing knife, camouflage ski mask, black leather gloves, and 6,296 rounds of ammunition.
Police said all the firearms were legally purchased.
Stanson told neighbours in New Brunswick that he once worked as a corrections officer in Ontario and was bitter about his experiences there, ATV News reported.
Police say they have a dog to thank, but do not know the identity of the pet's owner.
Helen Stanson of Guelph, Ont., said she believed her nephew was in Toronto seeking medical help for a heart condition.
A blood vessel in the heart was expanding rapidly and required surgery, she said. "He was a walking time bomb."