Man fatally shot by police was homeless, confirm Old Brewery Mission officials
A man who was shot to death by police on Friday after allegedly stabbing another man was homeless, confirmed an official with the Old Brewery Mission on Sunday.
“The police have given us his name in confidence but given the information they’ve conveyed to us, we can tell you, on the basis of that, he’s a client of ours,” said mission president and CEO Matthew Pearce. “He’s been using our services, on and off in an episodic manner since 2005, so about 11 or 12 years.”
While Pearce couldn’t give the man’s precise age, he said he was around his late 30s. He added that he expected to speak to mission staff who knew the man on Monday.
“He didn’t use our programs that help move people out of homelessness and back into society,” he said. “He was certainly offered them over the time because everyone is, but he probably said ‘No.’ For that reason, we don’t have much information in our database because it just means he was staying overnight at times.”
On Friday, a 37-year-old man was assaulted with a sharp object at around 2:30 p.m. inside a building at the corner of René-Lévesque Blvd. and Saint-Urbain St., sustaining stab wounds to the upper body.
The suspect fled and was stopped by police at an alley at the corner of Clark and St. Laurent, near the OBM. Police said he made threatening gestures with sharp objects in each hand and was fatally shot at least once in the upper body.
Tom Kubo said he was in the gym at the nearby YMCA when he saw the man.
“He was dressed like he just came in from the outside,” he said. “He came in and I heard this guy yelling ‘Don’t fight in here, there’s no fighting.’ I looked down and right behind where I was (working out) there was a pool of blood. I looked around and the victim was holding his throat.”
Pearce said the incident has been very traumatic for everyone at the mission. He promised cooperation with the police, but said their large presence at the mission as events unfolded, while understandable, was traumatic for the clients.
“This was an event that shook everybody,” said Pearce. “This is something that is lingering on now that shocked people. Clients are destabilized and staff upset. We’re getting psychological support for those who wish it.”
“The relationship between the police and homeless population is not one of confident trust,” he added. “It’s really the opposite, generally speaking. That created tensions inside the building as well, the fact that there were so many police.”
While the incident is still being investigated by Quebec’s bureau of independent investigators, Pearce said he is eager to know what led to the shooting.
“I want answers. I’m concerned as I’m sure a number of other Montrealers are that this is another incident where there was conflict between the police and the homeless population and the homeless guy ended up dead,” he said. “It’s not the first time but we always hope it’s the last time.”