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Shooting victim in Little Italy was brother of reputed gang leader

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The victim of a drive-by shooting in Montreal's Little Italy neighbourhood on Saturday was the brother of reputed gang leader Jean-Philippe Célestin, a source confirmed to CTV News.

Jean Brandon Célestin was shot multiple times after leaving a restaurant on Bellechasse Street just after midnight.

Montreal police (SPVM) have not officially announced the victim's identity, but confirmed they're investigating the fatal shooting of a 28-year-old man.

A spokesperson said officers were called to the corner of Bellechasse and Saint-Denis Streets around 12:15 a.m.

Upon arrival, they discovered a man with serious injuries on the pavement. Officers attempted to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead on the scene.

Several shell casings were found on the ground nearby.

No arrests were made by mid-afternoon Saturday. Preliminary information suggests one or more suspects fired at the victim from inside a vehicle before fleeing the scene.

'Reorganization of organized crime'

Daniel Renaud is a reporter at La Presse specializing in organized crime.

Speaking to CTV News on Saturday, he said the victim's brother, Jean-Philippe Célestin, is a major player in downtown Montreal's drug trade.

The Célestin brothers also served as "right-hands" to organized crime kingpin Gregory Woolley, who was gunned down in November, said Renaud.

"What the experts think, what the observers think, is that right now we're seeing a reorganization of organized crime in Montreal," he explained.

"Police think that adversaries want to seize control of drug trafficking activities in Montreal."

Court records reveal various charges against Jean Brandon Célestin including assault, harassment and resisting arrest.

His death marks the sixth homicide on the SPVM's territory in 2024. At this point last year, only one homicide was in the books, Renaud noted.  

With files from CTV Montreal's Matt Gilmour. 

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