An investigation by the Quebec provincial police was prompted after a shooting in Kanesatake last Thursday, July 1, resulted in the death of a 47-year-old man.
The Surete du Quebec (SQ) is asking the public’s help to identify an individual who may be linked to the killing of Arsène Mompoint. The murder took place late Thursday afternoon outside The Green Room cannabis dispensary located on Route 344.
The suspect has been described as a man wearing a black cap, grey hoodie, black pants and a grey bandana that covered his face. He was reported as driving an old model, light-coloured Ford sport utility vehicle.
On the Friday following the shooting, police officers reported the discovery of a burned-out vehicle a few kilometres away from the scene in the neighbouring municipality of Oka.
“At this point, the hypothesis is that this was a vehicle used in the incident on that day,” said SQ spokesperson Marc Tessier.
Tessier said that more witnesses will be questioned as the investigation continues.
In an article published last week, La Presse reported that, according to police authorities, Mompoint was considered to be an influential person in Montreal’s organized crime, as well as a contractor for the Mafia and other criminal groups.
La Presse also reported that the victim was one of the organizers behind a highly criticized party held at The Green Room on June 12.
The gathering in question attracted hundreds of people to the territory, angering many community members who said they received threats of violence and witnessed illegal behaviour.
One of the dispensary owners, Gary Tsikahentiio Gabriel, refuted the claim made by the French media, which he called an outright lie.
“He (Mompoint) wasn’t part of the party, he wasn’t a partner and he has nothing to do with the store,” said Gabriel. “He was just a customer who came in.”
The SQ spokesperson said they would not provide any information about the victim’s antecedents.
In Kanesatake, Mohawk Council grand chief Serge Otsi Simon said that in many ways, the shooting was foreseeable.
“Let’s not kid ourselves, how many of us have been thinking that it’s a matter of time before something like this happens? Well, now it’s happened,” said Simon in a video shared online Tuesday, July 6.
“I’m not going to call it an isolated incident because the present atmosphere in this community is still a real risk for our community – a risk that will happen again.”
The grand chief told The Eastern Door that although he was relieved that no community members were physically hurt, he remains concerned for the safety of Kanehsata’kehró:non.
“There’s a lot of fear for me not only as a parent, but also as a chief,” he said. “This is why we’re still looking at negotiations for Kanesatake to reestablish its policing service.”
Conversations at all governing levels were sparked after the SQ was criticized for not intervening during the disruptive event that took place at The Green Room in mid-June.
While Kanehsata’kehró:non have expressed mixed feelings about the proposal, Simon said this latest occurrence is proof that bringing back local policing is in the best interest of the community.
“For 10 years I’ve been trying to get policing back and every year the government said they have no money or don’t want to get involved again,” he said. “How many people are going to have to be killed around here before they realize something has to be done?”
Laurence Brisson Dubreuil, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door