On Sept. 16 at about 2 a.m, a 27-year-old man was shot on Boul. St. Laurent. The shooting took place close to the intersection of St. Laurent and Avenue des Pins. A media relations officer from the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) said on Friday that the victim is known to the police and is no longer in critical condition. The officer also said that there are currently no known suspects and that the police have made no arrests.
“There were a lot of people on Boul. St. Laurent that night because the street was closed to the cars, so it was a pedestrian area,” the officer said. “So, a few witnesses have been finally localized in the crowd.”
The officer also stated that detectives are in the process of meeting with witnesses and the victim to further advance the investigation.
Boul. St. Laurent is home to many bars and clubs, such as Cafe Campus, Muzique, and Tokyo, that are popular weekend destinations for McGill students. Gabriel Helfant, U2 Arts, was at Apartment 200, a club close to the crime scene on the night of the shooting.
“While going out for a quick breather with my friends, our conversation was interrupted by the sound of three gunshots,” Helfant said. “I noticed that everyone started running away from the centre of the block and we followed suit.”
The shooting was disturbing for Helfant and his friends.
“A few of my friends saw the events from a window above the club, where you could actually see the body and the blood,” Helfant said. “I have friends who saw more graphic versions of the event, and they were really troubled by it, more than I was, and I can’t imagine having to deal with that [….] They’re a bit traumatized from that.”
Helfant explained that the event was particularly unsettling given the familiarity of St. Laurent.
“I think most of us McGill students think of St. Laurent as a safe area to be in and kind of, part of the McGill/Montreal community,” Helfant said. “To add an unsafe connotation to the area is a bit unsettling.”
For female students, events like these may add another layer of fear. According to Statistics Canada, women who frequent bars or clubs often face a higher rate of sexual assault, and one in four victims report their assaults happening at bars or restaurants.
“I feel like already it’s so scary being a girl on St. Laurent just walking around [at night], and, to know that there’s an added dimension of weapons like guns, it’s a lot [scarier],” Amandri Dahanayake, U1 Science, said.
U1 Music student Laura Varas was asleep at the time of the shooting, and only heard about the event a couple of days after. She believes that the police should be making more of an effort to raise awareness about gun violence incidents, especially to those who live in her area.
“It’s actually a little scary because I live there, and so many people walk by,” Varas said. “I don’t know how to describe it because it’s not necessarily a fear, it’s more of a wariness which I think comes from the fact that the shootings aren’t necessarily broadcasted that well to the neighbourhood. Maybe if they were better broadcasted and if I were awake at that time it would be different, but, […] I didn’t really hear anything about it until a few days afterward.”
In a message to the The McGill Tribune a local bouncer, who chose to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, explained that crimes like these hurt the club scene.
“It’s dangerous,” the bouncer said. “It’s scary because it is supposed to be safe.”