Montreal police say 2 fatal shootings last night likely linked, carried out by same shooter

Montreal police say 2 fatal shootings last night likely linked, carried out by same shooter

Montreal police say two separate shootings carried out in the span of an hour and that left two men dead Tuesday night are likely related and were almost certainly committed by the same shooter.

"We now are 99 per cent sure that we have one suspect who has perpetrated both crimes," said Chief Insp. Marie-Claude Dandenault, of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM).

Sources tell Radio-Canada they believe the two men, who were shot in the Saint-Laurent and Ahunstic-Cartierville boroughs, were targeted at random.

The events began when police were called to the Saint-Laurent borough after reports of gunshots.

When they got to Deguire Street and Jules-Poitras Boulevard just before 9:45 p.m., they found a man, 64, on the ground with gunshot wounds to his upper body. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim was known to police.

Two police sources confirmed to Radio-Canada that the 64-year-old victim is André Lemieux, the father of professional boxer David Lemieux. The boxer's manager also confirmed the identity.

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Less than an hour later, police again received reports of gunshots, this time in Ahunstic-Cartierville, about two kilometres away.

They found a man, 48, with gunshot wounds to his upper body on Meilleur Street near Sauvé Street West. He too was  pronounced dead at the scene. Sources confirmed the victim is Mohamed Salah Belhaj.

Police working to determine motive

Montreal police are investigating both incidents and have not made any arrests so far.

"We're looking everywhere ... no stone is left unturned," said Dandenault.

She said no motive has been determined, but police are not ruling out the phenomenon of scoring — a practice of eliminating opposing gang members or innocent people at random to score points with one's own gang.

"It could be scoring, but usually in a scoring we will have someone who will maybe claim [the killing]. We'll see some things come out on social media. In this case we have not seen that, but we cannot rule it out," said Dandenault.

According to the SPVM, with these two latest deaths, there have been 17 homicides in the city this year.

In an interview with CBC News, Alan DeSousa, the longtime Saint-Laurent borough mayor, said this kind of violence is rarely seen in the borough.

"This would appear to be an isolated case, definitely not an accident, and is perhaps related to a greater problem that's present in the greater Montreal area that is caused in part by the proliferation of firearms," he said.

DeSousa said the borough will look at stepping up patrols in the area.

In a tweet, Montreal mayor Valérie Plante called the two recent killings heinous. On Thursday, politicians from all three levels of government are set to announce more funding for organizations fighting gun and gang violence in Quebec