« More than a brother to me »: commemoration of the victims of the murders in the Montreal area
MONTREAL — Families and communities are mourning a grandfather, a hospital worker and a 22-year-old on his skateboard who lost their lives this week in a series of seemingly random shootings in the Montreal area.
Police killed the 26-year-old suspect on Thursday morning after he allegedly shot all three victims in the street within around 24 hours. OPP say it appears the suspect, known to have mental health issues, picked his victims at random.
Billy Bellemare says he could never finish his last conversation with his best friend, 22-year-old Alex Lévis Crevier.
Lévis Crevier was skateboarding in Laval, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, exchanging messages with Bellemare when he was shot and killed Wednesday night.
“We were sending each other voice messages and paff…nothing more,” Bellemare said in an interview with The Canadian Press on Facebook Messenger.
Bellemare said the two met in 2019 while working at the same tire shop in St-Jerome, Que., north of Montreal. Lévis Crevier “was more than a brother to me, we talked to each other 24 (hours) a day, seven days a week,” he says.
Bellemare said his fondest memory was of long car rides with his friend, the two laughing so hard at « absolutely nothing » that they almost had to stop. Lévis Crevier, who had just started a job in construction, was “kind, sympathetic, a very good person,” he said.
The brazen killing spree began Tuesday night, when 26-year-old suspect Abdulla Shaikh allegedly shot and killed two men in Montreal a few miles apart, about an hour apart.
André Fernand Lemieux, 64, father of Canadian professional boxer David Lemieux, was the shooter’s first victim. The 33-year-old boxer posted a photo Wednesday of his father cradling his months-old grandson, born earlier this year to Lemieux and his partner, Olympic medal-winning diver Jennifer Abel.
« RIP Dad, » reads the photo, which was posted to Lemieux’s official Facebook account. Lemieux’s management said the boxer was « in mourning » and did not wish to speak publicly.
A union representing health care workers in the city’s north has paid tribute online to Mohamed Salah Belhaj, killed Tuesday in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough of Montreal.
Several colleagues who worked with the 48-year-old man at the Albert-Prévost psychiatric hospital changed their Facebook profile pictures to a black square with the name of the hospital and the words « Sans Mo ».
“Thank you dear colleague for your presence and your work during all these years”, wrote the union. « Thank you for everything Momo. »
A former colleague who now lives in France said he remembers Belhaj as someone who devoted himself to helping those around him. « Anyone could tell you about her beautiful smile, » Marc-Antoine St-Pierre said on Facebook Messenger.
The Canadian Embassy in Tunisia expressed « great sadness » over the death of Belhaj, whom it described as a Tunisian national residing in Canada. The Tunisian embassy in Canada, meanwhile, said consular officials had visited his family to offer their support.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 5, 2022.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION