Jean-Michel Duquette, a third-year psychology student at Collège Montmorency in Laval, Que., said he was standing near the front door of his school on Friday when he suddenly saw people running.
“God, what’s going on?” I was like.
Duquette was one of hundreds of students on campus when the shooting happened in a park near the school in the Chomedy district, leaving three people hospitalized with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds and a fourth with what is believed to be broken glass.
The campus was locked down after hundreds of staff and students were trapped inside the school after the victims sought shelter..
“I started running with my friend, trying to see what was going on … because we were at school and someone was bleeding, so we were trying to help him,” says Duquette.
Those inside the school were slowly evacuated from the building just after 10 p.m.—more than four hours after the lockdown took effect.
While police say those who huddled inside the campus were not harmed, Duquette says the incident left students feeling unsafe.
“If they can do things like this in a school, it’s dangerous. Like you’re not safe. The city needs to do something,” he said.
Police said no shots were fired on campus and could not say whether the victims were students at the school.
However, that does little to put Jean-Jacques Nduetta’s mind at ease.
“When I hear something like this, I get worried as a parent,” said Ndutha, whose daughter comes to school every Saturday for swimming lessons.
He says he wants the city to ban the use of firearms to make the neighborhood safer.
The police chief said the shooting was linked to a street gang
Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer and local police chief Pierre Brosh held a news conference Saturday morning to provide an update on Friday’s incident.
Brosche says police are still looking for a suspect or suspects in the shooting and are asking for the public’s help.
He confirmed that one victim, aged between 19 and 20, was affiliated with a local street gang known as the Flamehead Boys, but did not provide further details.
“It is important to clarify that the event has nothing to do with CEGEP,” he said, adding that it was unrelated to another school lockdown on Friday at another CEGEP in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.
Thanks to a police project that began last spring, shootings in the city have halved this year compared to last year, Brosche says, “but what we’re seeing now with what happened yesterday, we still have some work to do.”
Referring to mob violence in the city, Broche said officials would continue to crack down.
As long as these acts of disregard for human life do not stop, we will not give up and we will stand behind them,” he said.
The mayor called for more support for Laval
At the same news conference Saturday, Mayor Boyer told reporters he had spoken with Quebec’s Minister of Public Safety François Bonnardel to request more funding to fight gun violence in the city.
“In the last few years we have been seeing more and more incidents involving young people [firearms]”Even though we’re investing a lot of money … I was asking for some financial support from the provincial government, like Montreal got,” said Stéphane Boyer, referring to the $250 million earmarked for Montreal over the summer.
Boyer says the city has already added $1.2 million to the police budget this year to allow more investigators to look into street gangs and gun crimes, but he says the city must have a way to invest more in community outreach to solve the problem. the roots.
“Beyond the police, we have to give our youth ways to get involved and build their sense of pride. We have to give them other opportunities than going into organized crime,” he said.
Despite what happened Friday, Boyer and Brosche say the city is safe and they are working hard to prevent violence.
“I want to reassure people that we are doing everything we can to combat street gangs,” Boyer said.
Brosche says he wants to send the message that the area is “very safe around the college.”