Montreal mayor, police chief announce new anti-gun squad, following rise in violence

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Montreal's mayor and its police chief are announcing a new team of investigators who will target weapon traffickers, following a rise in gun-related crime across parts of the city.

The new police unit comes after the shooting death of 15-year-old Meriem Boundaoui, a bystander who was sitting in a car Sunday when another vehicle drove by and someone opened fire.

Police chief Sylvain Caron says he met with Boundaoui's family and promised police would do everything they can to solve her slaying.

Caron says a specialized squad to probe the source of illegal firearms will begin its work Feb. 22, adding there will be an increased police presence in the northeastern Montreal boroughs with a notable uptick in gun-related crimes.

Caron says the normalization of gun violence must end and citizens have the right to live safely in their neighbourhoods.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante says she spoke to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the federal government's role in controlling handguns in Canadian cities, adding that she also plans to discuss the matter with Public Security Minister Bill Blair.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press