"It’s still hard to stomach." I went on a date with an attempted mass murderer.

Online dating is weird.

Online dating is uncomfortable.

Online dating can be really dangerous.

I was innocently on a dating app after about a year of being single, and realising I had no prior dating experience other than my first, garbage ex-boyfriend.

I wanted to get out there and test the waters. I was interested in meeting new varieties of people, and getting a little bit of experience in the dating/flirting department.

I promised myself that the moment online dating stopped being fun, I would quit.

I probably went on three to five dates per month for a four to five-month stretch.

Dating: Translated. Post continues after video.

It became clear to me that, while it was still fun, I wasn’t finding this method of dating beneficial for finding the right fit for me in a partner.

But before quitting, I would go on several memorable dates, with several very memorable people. One of which included a date who would later that year be arrested and held for an attempted plan to execute a mass shooting at my university.

(If you’d like to read up on the event before digging into my story, you can find that information here.)

The date was awkward at best, but nothing out of the ordinary. I was a 20-year-old undergrad, he was a 29-year-old med student.

I can’t remember initially what drew me to him to keep chatting on the dating app, but I imagine it was because he presented himself as very kind and polite.

He was normal. Painfully normal, even.


I found him averagely handsome — not that looks really matter, but it did play into my entire perception of him being a plain-old-Joe, and nothing out of the ordinary.

I asked him why he’d chosen medicine — he bluntly replied that it was mostly for the money.

I asked what his hobbies were — he told me he had two: curling, and competitive bridge.

I expressed my passion for travel. He had no desire to leave the country. I talked about my love for writing, he replied that he had trouble with his words and expressing himself.

Killed By The Man Next Door: The Murder Of Tosha Thakkar. Post continues after podcast.

It didn’t take long to realise that the chemistry just really wasn’t there for us.

Our date was falling flat.

And to make matters worse, my mother happened walked into the restaurant with a work friend and saw me across the room. A big, devious smile spread across her face as she innocently walked over and said, “Well hi honey, how are you? And who is this?”


I didn’t tell my mother that I was going on this date, and I’m sure she joyously saw that moment as instant karma for my secrecy.

The date finished with a hug, and I headed back to campus for my next class.

I would later tell people this exact quote:

“He was a super nice guy, a total gentleman, but we didn’t click. He was pretty boring, and I’m not sure he’s likely to ever do anything exciting in his life.”

I realise that’s harsh, but that was the honest feeling of the entire encounter and how I’d sized him up as a person over our burgers and fries.

He texted me the next day asking if I would be interested in a second date. I replied that I didn’t feel the chemistry was there for us, but I wished him the best in his search for a lovely lady who would be the right fit for him.

He replied back, quite politely, and we never talked again after that.

The light bulb moment.

It was six months later, and a friend who also attended my university sent me a message with a link to an article, and said something along the lines of, “OMG, WTF.”

I opened the article and read it. It was extremely shocking, because these kinds of gun threats aren’t at all common where I live. That could be said for most of Canada as a whole.


I read the name of the accused in the article over and over, because there was something about it that seemed familiar. But that was odd… how would I know a 30-year-old med student?


And then it hit me, and I flipped out.

I was also so incredibly confused, because like I said, I thought he was the most ordinary, if anything a little boring, person I had possibly ever met in my entire life.

Yet there he was — plastered on the front page of our national newspapers, with a plan to kill 20+ people who attended my university.

What the actual f*ck.

I later found out that he saw me as “the problem”.

We would learn in the coming weeks from news reports and updates that he was vocal about his frustration with going on first dates that never led to a second.

He was angered that women didn’t seem to want to date him, and particularly hated the women who wouldn’t go on a second date with him.

He was angry with the entire system and made his plan of attack.

Thankfully, he was foiled when he confided in his psychiatrist about how he was planning to get revenge, and she reported him directly to the police.

I truly believe that he felt out-of-control to the point of scaring himself, and there was a part of him that honestly wanted to be stopped and caught.

That said, apparently, I’m one of the women who “motivated” him to plan a mass killing and collect the firearms necessary to make that happen.

Final word.

It’s still hard to stomach that online dating connected me with a sociopathic potential mass killer, and that I was once sitting across from him for several hours, and hugged him.

Needless to say, my online dating chapter didn’t last very long after that, and this experience has turned me off of it for good.

Today, I use this story as a cautionary tale to any of my friends who are considering online dating. If there’s any message to take out of this, it’s the following:

You never truly know a person just from messaging back and forth, or from the first few in-person meetings.

People show you what they want you to see.


They hide what’s convenient to hide.

So if you needed your daily reminder of the misogyny which still is very prevalent in our world, there you have it! This is precisely why women do not feel safe in our society.

Next time you’re online dating, consider this cautionary tale and take these insights with you:

  • Always meet in a public place.
  • Don’t be too quick to trust.
  • Listen to your gut.
  • Absolutely utilise your right to say no and walk away.

I’m glad I adhered to these rules — I don’t know what could have happened otherwise.

The feature image used is a stock photo.

This article originally appeared on Medium and has been republished here with full permission.

You can follow Gillian Sisley on Twitter, right here: @TheCleverQuill.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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