MONTREAL – Families and communities mourn a grandfather, a hospital worker and a 22-year-old man on a skateboard who lost his life this week in a series of apparently random shootings in the Montreal area.
Police killed the 26-year-old suspect on Thursday morning after he shot the three victims in the street in about 24 hours. The county police said the suspect, who is known to have mental health issues, appears to have randomly chosen his victims.
Billy Bellemare says he hasn’t finished his last conversation with his best friend, 22-year-old Alex Levis-Krever.
Levis Crevier was riding his skateboard in Laval, Que., a suburb of Montreal, exchanging messages with Bellemare when he was shot dead Wednesday night.
“We were sending each other voicemails and callings…no more,” Bellemare said in an interview with The Canadian Press on Facebook Messenger.
Bellemare said the two met in 2019 when they worked at the same tire shop in Saint Jerome, Que., north of Montreal. “He was more than just a brother to me, we talked for 24 (hours) out of 24, seven days out of seven,” said Levis Kreiver.
Bellmar said his best memories are of long-distance car rides with his friend, with the two laughing so hard at “absolutely nothing” that they were about to stop. Levis Kreiver, who had just started a job in construction, was “a kind and likable — a very good person,” he said.
The brazen series of murders began Tuesday night, when suspect Abdullah Sheikh, 26, shot two men in Montreal a few kilometers from each other, about an hour away.
Andre Fernand Lemieux, 64, the father of Canadian professional boxer David Lemieux, was the shooter’s first victim. On Wednesday, the 33-year-old boxer posted a photo of his father cuddling his two-month-old grandson, who was born earlier this year from Lemieux and his partner, Olympic medal-winning diver Jennifer Abel.
“RIP Dad” read the photo posted on Lemieux’s official Facebook account. Lemieux’s management indicated that the boxer was “in mourning” and did not want to speak publicly.
A union representing health care workers in the northern end of the city paid tribute to Mohamed Salah Belhaj, who was killed in the Ahontesque-Carterville area of Montreal on Tuesday.
Several colleagues who worked with the 48-year-old at Albert Prevost Mental Health Hospital have changed their Facebook profile pictures to a black square with the hospital’s name and the words “Without Mo”.
“Thank you, dear colleague, for your presence and your work all these years,” the union wrote. “Thank you for everything Momo.”
A former colleague who now lives in France said he remembered Belhadj as someone who devoted himself to helping those around him. “Everyone can tell you about his wonderful smile,” Marc-Antoine Saint-Pierre said on Facebook Messenger.
The Canadian Embassy in Tunisia expressed its “deep sadness” at the death of Belhadj, who it described as a Tunisian national residing in Canada. Meanwhile, the Tunisian embassy in Canada said consular officials had visited his family to offer their support.
This report was first published by The Canadian Press on August 5, 2022.
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