MONTREAL—Fifty years ago on Friday, two police officers working for what was then the St-Laurent police force were shot dead after responding to a bank robbery.

Standing in exactly the same church as they attended then, the families of those murdered officers gathered to remember them on Friday.

“The only souvenir I have is what my mother told me. Every night I was waiting for him to come back home,” said Chantal Brabant, one of the victim’s daughter.

Constables Claude Marineau and Denis Brabant were gunned down during a robbery in 1962. The killer, dressed like Santa Claus, used a semi-automatic rifle.

“After that, Christmas was never the same. Santa Claus was never in our family,” said another daughter, Marie-Claude Brabant.

The officers were in their thirties, married and each had three children. Alain Marineau was the youngest, only three when his father died.

“It very hard to accept, I would say it's taken me 50 years to accept,” said Alain.

There were others who felt the loss acutely.


“That day was my day off. I was just lucky that I’m still alive because normally I should have been one of the two that would have been in the patrol car,” said Jean-Guy de Repontigny, now a retired police officer.

Every life touched by this loss, every moment she tries to remember—Micheline Marineau keeps it tucked in the pages of her scrapbook.

“We can't forget it. It isn't something you forget, it just isn't something you forget,” said Micheline.

They are heroes that are still remembered, their names on a street sign in St-Laurent.

Retired cop Jacques Cinq Mars says that day was among the worst he faced in the force.

“It's a shame when you hear that two of your workmen died. But that's life and that's police work,” said Cinq Mars.

The killer, 34-year-old Georges Marcotte was arrested and found guilty of two counts of murder. He became one of the last criminals to get a death sentence in Canada. When the death penalty was abolished in 1976, his sentence became a life sentence. He was granted paroled in 1981.