Concerns over rash of gun violence following latest shooting in Montreal
MONTREAL -- A rash of gun violence in Montreal has authorities on high alert, as “more and more criminals [are] wearing and using weapons in the city,” according to a police sergeant.
More guns are coming into the city illegally, explains Sergeant Emmanuel Anglade.
“We've seen an increase in the past two years," he said. "There are more guns on our territory... more illicit guns, more illegal guns, more stolen guns that we've seized."
This comes after a shooting in the Côte-Saint-Paul neighbourhood early Wednesday morning.
Officers received a 911 call at 12:45 a.m. about gunshots heard on Jolicoeur Street, near Briand Street.
"Police located at least one impact on the window of a residential building," said Véronique Comtois, a spokesperson with Montreal police. "A perimeter was set up to protect the scene."
There were no reported injuries following the gunfire.
This incident is the 60th in 2021, according to Montreal police; there have been 12 shootings so far in July, with 487 guns seized this year.
Anglade explains criminal groups are at the root of a lot of firearm violence.
“Our investigation leads us to conflicts between criminal groups, but we see other factors leading us to gun violence and violent crimes,” he said. “We could also talk about COVID-19, which shifted criminality to public spaces.”
Anglade notes this could be due to restaurant and bar closures throughout the pandemic.
“There's been less activity downtown and now… the phenomenon seems to be shifting from northeast back to downtown since the restaurants, clubs are opening," he said. "There’s more activity downtown, so the criminal activity seems to be shifting to where it was before COVID-19.”
Anglade adds there doesn't seem to be a particular hotspot at the moment.
“We've had incidents in the northeastern part, but also downtown and southern part of the city, so we can't identify a clear spot where shootings occur,” he admitted.
Earlier this week, two other shootings took place; one in the Saint-Laurent borough that left one victim in hospital and another in Verdun that resulted in no injuries.
A few days prior, two teenagers were shot at in the Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood. One of them suffered injuries to the lower body, while the other was grazed by a bullet.
Police can not say if the latest shootings are connected. However, Anglade insists there will be more patrols in target areas.
The gun trafficking, organized crime and major crimes units are also investigating these shootings.
- With files from CTV News Montreal's Ian Wood.