Calls for action after shooting in east end Montreal leaves 3 dead
MONTREAL -- Montrealers are in shock after a shooting that left three people dead in the city's east end borough of Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles on Monday.
Following the incident, Montreal police (SPVM) says it plans to further crack down on gun violence, but some activists argue the first step is for officers to stop prejudicing mostly Black communities.
"Putting money on gun violence in Montreal North is not necessarily what is going to stop gun violence since most gun violence happens in the west and not the east," lawyer Marie-Livia Beaugé tells CTV News, citing a 2020 report by the SPVM. "The use of force, especially with all that is happening with police brutality, is not a good idea. Not for the young Black men who have nothing to do about gun violence, and not for our society."
Beaugé, a lawyer and project coordinator at Hoodstock, an organization whose mission is to eliminate systemic inequalities in favour of inclusive and safe communities, says there needs to be concrete change -- not just talk -- when it comes to addressing violence on the island.
"Why do kids have access to weapons so easily? Why do people use weapons to resolve their issues?" she asks. "I'm talking about programs like alternative justice. I'm talking about programs that can help people in this environment to get out."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also weighed in on the deadly shooting, calling the rise in gun violence in recent weeks "disturbing."
"Sending my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time," Trudeau wrote.
WHAT HAPPENED IN RDP
Montreal police responded to multiple calls at 7 p.m. Monday about shots were fired in the direction of a group of five men at an apartment building at 9301 Perras Blvd., near 54th Avenue in RDP.
By 9:30 p.m., police confirmed one of the victims had died; the second succumbed to his injuries just before midnight and a third passed early Tuesday morning. Two of them were 29-years-old and the third was 63-years-old.
Two other victims remain in hospital in stable condition, confirmed Montreal police Insp. David Shane, adding all of the men were known to police.
"One of the deceased was actually carrying a firearm on him," he said. "This event is unprecedented in Montreal and it's unacceptable."
Shane notes the building was previously targetted by gunfire on June 5, but there were no reported victims in that incident.
Investigators are working to determine the events leading to the gunfire and are treating the case as a triple homicide.
The killings mark the city's 14th, 15th and 16th homicides of the year.
A CITY IN SHOCK
"The shots that rang out ... in Rivière-des-Prairies are disturbing and shocking," RDP borough mayor Caroline Bourgeois wrote on Facebook. "When I heard that shots were fired in the heart of our neighbourhood, at a time when so many people are taking advantage of the summer weather to be outside, my heart skipped a beat."
She notes the borough is working with Montreal police to "shed light on this serious event."
"RDP is a beautiful neighbourhood and people are proud to be part of this community," Bourgeois insists. "We don't stand for this kind of violence, the kind that sends a chill up our spines, and it must stop."
Quebec Premier François Legault also took to social media Tuesday morning to send his condolences to the victims' families, adding "we will protect Montrealers and Quebecers."
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante echoed the premier's sentiments, tweeting "I am shocked by yesterday's shooting in RDP. Gun violence must stop. The safety of Montrealers is an unconditional priority."
GUN VIOLENCE 'A PRIORITY'
Montreal police has stated numerous times that it plans to come down hard on gun violence in the city, including through the creation of its anti-arms trafficking squad, ELTA, on Feb. 22.
Tuesday, Shane announced the force would be asking the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) for help controlling the number of guns on its territory and issued a warning to perpetrators on the island.
"Enough is enough," he said. "You now have the entirety of the Montreal police force on your back. So, we recommend you immediately stop your firearm violence on our territory."
Part of the force's plan is to continue deploying patrol officers to affected neighbourhoods, mostly on the island's eastern and northern points, in the hopes of curbing violent acts.
This is the latest in a rash of shootings across the city in recent months, including two shootings in the Sud-Ouest borough that drove the local community out onto the streets in a march for peace.