Montreal police were not directly targeted by gunfire in MUHC shooting, SPVM says

The Montreal police service's major crimes unit investigated the incident which injured one officer and prompted the city's police chief to condemn attacks on his officers. (Verity Stevenson/CBC - image credit)
The Montreal police service's major crimes unit investigated the incident which injured one officer and prompted the city's police chief to condemn attacks on his officers. (Verity Stevenson/CBC - image credit)

Contrary to what was initially believed, two Montreal police officers were not actually targeted by gunfire while exiting the city's largest hospital last month.

The shooting took place at 1:30 a.m. just outside the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in the city's west end on Aug. 24.

One officer was injured, the hospital went into lockdown, and by the end of the day, the city's police chief was vowing to nab whoever targeted his officers with gunfire.

Now it appears he spoke too soon.

The most plausible scenario is that there was a shooting nearby and stray bullets travelled toward the hospital, hitting the building next to the officers, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) said in a statement Tuesday.

The impact sent fragments toward one of the officers, grazing her arm.

The SPVM's major crimes unit analyzed images from various surveillance cameras footage from around the medical complex to study the movement of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, the statement says.

Investigators were also able to determine the trajectory of the bullets.

"The shots were fired from a green space between Saint-Jacques and Pullman streets, south of the hospital," the statement says.

"Due to the terrain, it is unlikely that the shooter could have intentionally targeted the police officers who were then in the parking lot."

About 20 hours after the shooting, Chief Sylvain Caron said two impacts and one projectile at the crime scene indicated the officers were targeted.

Caron said all resources were being directed toward finding the suspect or suspects in this case. He called on the public to come forward with any information.

About five days later, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced an additional $5.5-million investment in the city's police force in a bid to fight growing gun violence on the island.

The money is to go toward adding 42 more officers, 28 for the force's ECLIPSE anti-gang squad and 14 to help in criminal investigations, Caron said at the time, calling the the need "immediate."

"This reinforcement of additional staff will allow us to improve our interventions on two levels: the active police presence in uniform and the specialized support in criminal investigations," he said.

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