Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, emotion creeping into her voice, said the city's police service is working tirelessly to find whoever is responsible for killing 16-year-old Thomas Trudel in the Saint-Michel neighbourhood Sunday night.
"We're going to do everything to find who did that," said Plante, speaking during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
At the same time, Montreal is continuing its effort to combat gun violence in the city, she said.
"We're here to show our support. We will work day and night to find out what happened, and to ensure we have safe communities," said Plante, noting more than 500 guns have been confiscated by Montreal police this year.
Police Chief Sylvain Caron described the death as "unacceptable."
He encouraged people to come forward with any information they have. At this point, he said, there have been no arrests, but he added that every tip received from the public is being looked into and the investigation is progressing.
Caron said the police service is, in partnership with the province, working to stop gun trafficking, putting new teams on the ground in certain sectors. He also reiterated the need to work closely with community groups in order to prevent gun violence.
"It's not just a police solution," he said. "It's important that we all work together."
Plante said she would also like to see the federal government do more, such as creating stricter penalties for illegal gun possession.
Gunned down in the street
Police were called to the intersection of Villeray Street and 20th Avenue around 9 p.m. Sunday where they found Trudel unconscious. He had been struck by gunfire in the upper body.
Witnesses saw the victim walking on the street before a man approached him, there was a verbal exchange and then the suspect shot the victim at least once, police said.
Trudel's death was the 31st homicide on Montreal police territory this year.
Relatives told Radio-Canada that Trudel loved to play hockey and was not involved with street gangs or crime.
One of Trudel's former physical education teachers at Léonard-De Vinci school said he was a good athlete and student.
"He was a super endearing and very bright young man — an infectious ball of energy. He was appreciated by his classmates and his teachers," said Fred Lebel.
Lebel, who also knows Trudel's younger brother, said learning of the teen's death was shocking and difficult.
More recently, Trudel was a student at Joseph-François-Perrault high school.
Psychosocial workers and a support team have been sent to the school, according to Alain Perron, spokesperson for the Centre de services scolaire de Montréal (CSSDM).
"We wish to express our sympathies to family members, friends and the school's educational community," Perron said in an email.
Quebec to launch prevention-focused initiative
Just last month, another 16-year-old Montrealer was killed.
Jannai Dopwell-Bailey was stabbed in the parking lot of Mile End high school in the city's Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough. A teen was arrested in that case.
And back in February, Meriem Boundaoui, a 15-year-old girl, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Saint-Léonard.
On Tuesday, Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault offered Trudel's family, friends and community her condolences.
"I understand people are worried right now, are stressed out, are sad, but I want to tell them: Overall, Montreal is still a safe place to live even though we are all a little overwhelmed and worried about what happened," Guilbault said.
She said she is working with Montreal police and organizations on the ground level to prevent gun violence.
"The key to the solution is to keep those guns from getting in young people's hands and that is what we are working on," Guilbault said.
In September, she announced the Quebec government is investing more than $90 million in funding meant to help combat gun trafficking.
The next step is prevention, she told CBC News.
Guilbault said she will soon be announcing a new prevention-focused initiative that will be launched in collaboration with Montreal's administration, local organizations and the federal government.