Mr. Silber added: “When we look at what triggers people to mobilize, to take up a new ideology and to do something in opposition to the society they live in, they typically have some kind of grievance, and that could very well overlap with a mental health issue. If it’s untreated — or insufficiently treated — it can lead to violence.”

In Toronto, the authorities have declined to answer reporters’ questions about whether the gunman’s electronic devices have been recovered and what, if anything, was found on them.

The ISIS claim of responsibility, issued early on Wednesday, used phrasing indicating the gunman had been inspired by the group, suggesting he may have been self-radicalized online. Although ISIS has issued dozens of accurate claims — including in instances where officials initially said there was no ISIS link, only to correct themselves later — the group has also suffered deep losses in recent months, including to its media team. It has issued several recent claims that proved to be incorrect, including claiming responsibility for a 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.

In previous cases, evidence of the group’s role was found on attackers’ phones, especially via the app Telegram, which is used by the Islamic State to spread propaganda. Others have been incriminated by the keyword searches they made on their laptops or screens.

Regardless of whether Mr. Hussain was inspired by terrorist ideology, what is clear is that he came from a troubled background. A portrait of his family, as reported by The Toronto Star, was one of struggle and grief.

Mr. Hussain’s sister died in a car accident and his brother Fahad overdosed on drugs last summer, ending up in a vegetative state at a hospital. The brother had twice been arrested, the newspaper reported — once on charges that he sold crack cocaine, and again when he was accused of possessing ammunition and failing to comply with his bail conditions.

“It’s kind of tragedy after tragedy,” said Ahmed Hussein, the executive director of The Neighborhood Organization, a local social service center in Thorncliffe Park, where Faisal Hussain lived with his family.

Orignially published in NYT.

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