Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante is seeking to reassure the public after a shootout in Montreal's Old Port between police and a suspect left residents of the normally bustling, tourist-friendly neighbourhood shaken.
Plante said Montreal police would increase its patrols in the area, particularly late at night as bars close.
Five people, including a police officer and a 33-year-old man, were taken to hospital following the shooting, which took place around 2 a.m. Sunday near the Clocktower Quay.
More than 20 shots were fired in all, according to Radio-Canada sources.
"I was shocked," the mayor told reporters late Monday afternoon. "My message to Montrealers is that this violence is unacceptable and we are taking this very seriously."
Christine Caron, a longtime resident who heads up a local neighbourhood association, said the shooting is part of a troubling trend she has observed this summer, which has been different than any other given the pandemic.
"I think the problems are located around nightlife. There seems to be a movement of problematic crowds around the bars in the area since the beginning of the summer and to us it seems that it's worse than it was the year before," she said on Daybreak.
"Of course, this year there aren't any tourists around so it's more quiet to start with. Maybe the violence shows up more, the place being more quiet. I don't know, it's difficult to tell from our point of view."
Chantal Venne, who lives in a nearby condo, also noted there had been some altercations this summer. She didn't hear the shooting itself, but said a bullet was found outside her building the next morning.
Quebec's police watchdog has taken over the investigation, because civilians were injured during the intervention.
According to the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), three police officers responded to the call. They told the BEI that a 33-year-old man started shooting in their direction, hitting one of the officers.
Police say they then returned fire and hit the suspect.
In addition to the suspect and the police officer, a waitress and two bystanders were also hit, according to Radio-Canada sources.
All five people are expected to survive.
Warning: This eyewitness video contains images of violence
Guy Ryan, a former inspector with the SPVM's organized crime unit, said police often respond to bar fights and disagreements in the early morning hours on the weekend. But it's rare that guns are involved.
He said that in itself makes the incident worrisome.
The next night, in a separate incident, shots were fired at an apartment building in Pointe-aux-Trembles.
Several nearby residents called 911 after hearing the shots. Investigators found several bullet marks on the wall of the building and one shell casing on the ground.
No one was injured.
Plante said police would put more officers in both areas and would go door-to-door in Pointe-aux-Trembles, to "make sure that people feel safe."