Slain teen, Thomas Trudel, commemorated at Montreal march

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More than 100 people were on-site in Montreal's Saint-Michel neighbourhood to commemorate 16-year-old Thomas Trudel, before the speeches started.  (Marie-Isabelle Rochon/Radio-Canada - image credit)
More than 100 people were on-site in Montreal's Saint-Michel neighbourhood to commemorate 16-year-old Thomas Trudel, before the speeches started. (Marie-Isabelle Rochon/Radio-Canada - image credit)

A rally and march in memory of Thomas Trudel and other gun victims took place in Montreal's Saint-Michel neighbourhood on Saturday afternoon.

Young people, parents, elected officials and other stakeholders spoke before a crowd of more than a hundred people.

As a mother of teenage boys, Juliana Lulelaru said she attended the ceremony because she wanted to show her support.

"We all have a little bit of responsibility in this because adolescents, they need support, they need to feel that they belong to a community," she said.

Marchers made their way to the intersection of 20th Avenue and Villeray Street, less than a kilometre away, where they placed flowers, drawings, candles and photos to commemorate the victim.

It was there that Trudel, 16, was shot dead without apparent cause on Oct. 14 around 9 p.m.

He is the third Montreal teen to be killed this year, after Jannai Dopwell-Bailey was stabbed to death outside of his school in Mile End and Meriem Boundaoui was shot in Saint-Leonard in February.

Valérie Mome-Leclair, who attended the demonstration with her nine-year-old son, said the killings troubled her.

"I have lived in Montreal for 20 years and have always felt safe. But of course, it's worrisome, and I hope they're only isolated incidents," she said.

Demonstrators also demanded politicians do more to stop violent crime in the city, citing prevention and education as the most powerful means to curb gun violence.

Suzie Cloutier, who lives in Saint-Michel, says her five-year-old son, Youcef, hasn't returned to school since the shooting.

"My kids are scared now," she said. "It's really important for them to know that not everyone is evil. I hope with all my heart that people, the government will take action."

Trudel's death, which marks the 31st death on the Montreal police service (SPVM)'s territory this year, sparked reactions from all levels of government.

This week, the Mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, and Quebec's Minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault, called on the federal government to do more in the fight against firearms.

But Ottawa has no plans to ban handguns across the country.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Montreal MP Pablo Rodriguez said "we must do everything in our power" to prevent another incident from happening, although he fell short of announcing any plans.

Homicides are on the rise compared to the last two years in Montreal. However, the average amount of homicides committed in the city is trending downward, compared to the last decade.

In both 2019 and 2020, 25 homicides were committed in the SPVM's jurisdiction, according to the police force's annual report.

The average number of homicides recorded in Montreal from 2001 to 2010 was more than 41 homicides per year.

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