A man drove from the Maritimes with a carload of guns and ammunition, vowing to kill as many people in Toronto as he could before a last-minute encounter with a wandering dog inspired a change of heart.

The New Brunswick man, in his 40s, surrendered to police yesterday afternoon in front of a supermarket at Leslie and Eastern Sts. He had a loaded gun in his pocket and a car crammed with more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition.

"At that time, he decided he was going to shoot people in the area," said Detective Nick Ashley of 55 Division. "He attended a local park nearby and was preparing the weapons to do that."

By chance, a dog approached the man and started playing with him in the Victoria Park Ave. and Queen St. E. park.

"He happens to be a pet lover and decided that if there was such a nice dog in the area the people were too nice and he wasn't going to carry out his plan," Ashley said.

His car, a red Subaru caked with mud, provided the testament. It was packed with doggie blankets, a big plastic dog dish still filled with dry kibble and the biggest single arsenal Ashley had seen in his 17 years with the service.

The car "was absolutely stuffed," he said.

The man didn't have a dog in the car. Police said he had left his dog in New Brunswick.

After visiting the park, the man, who police describe as mentally ill, drove around the city looking for a police officer. He found a young constable who has only been on the force for three years.

Constable Fraser Douglas, 25, was responding to a shoplifting call in front of a Leslie St. supermarket on a sunny afternoon when a man drove up behind his cruiser and honked the horn.

"He told me he was crazy and he needed to go to the hospital," the officer recalled.

Toronto Star