Lockdown ends at Laval college after shooting Friday night, mayor to address public

The deconfinement operation was completed at Montmorency College in Laval shortly after midnight on Friday night, where about 500 students and staff had barricaded themselves for several hours after shots were fired nearby.

Four people were injured when shots were fired in a park next to the college. Three of them took refuge inside the college, causing commotion and confusion early Friday evening. The police then set in motion the containment protocol.

“Around 9:30 p.m. last night, we started to quietly deconfine the classes in groups of 20-25 students. There were about 500 people, students and staff, to get out of the college and after midnight we managed to get everyone out,” said Laval police (SPL) spokesperson Sergeant Geneviève Major, early Saturday morning.

According to the account of events reported by the Laval police, the first emergency call was received at 5:22 p.m. Friday to report a person injured by firearms.

Two 20-year-old men and a 19-year-old man were transported to hospital with gunshot wounds. The fourth person suffered a minor shrapnel wound and was treated at the scene. Their lives are not in danger.

“We still have three victims in hospital, three men in their 20s, who have been interviewed by investigators. No arrests have been made yet, but at least one of the victims, a 20-year-old man, is known to our services for a history of violence. At this time, the connection between the victims and the suspect has yet to be determined at the investigative level,” said Major.

AUTHORITIES RESPOND

More details about the suspect could be revealed at a news conference Saturday morning, around 11 a.m., by Laval Police Chief Pierre Brochet. He will be accompanied by Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer, who was anxious to respond to this latest shooting in his city on Montreal’s north shore.

Quebec Premier François Legault took to Twitter Friday night to say his government is also closely monitoring the situation, especially since students and staff at another CEGEP were placed in a barricaded lockdown earlier Friday in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Montérégie, where a 19-year-old man wearing a bulletproof vest caused a stir.

In this case, no one was injured and the suspect was arrested and will face charges for making threats.

“The shooting near Montmorency College is troubling. François Bonnardel is in contact with law enforcement,” Legault said in a tweet. “My thoughts are with the victims and their families. We will relentlessly fight gun violence on our streets to keep Quebec a safe place.” 

HOURS OF WAITING IN THE DARK

Whether at the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu college or the College Montmorency, all those inside at the time of the incident had been instructed to hide, lock the doors and turn off the lights.

In both cases, young people communicated by text message with their relatives on their mobile phones.

Throughout the evening, many relatives of those confined flooded 911 in Laval with calls, forcing the SPL to issue a message to people to stop calling.

“There are about 500 students in the college, we can’t answer for every single person. We can reassure the population, the students are safe,” said Major.

As at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, the lockdown at Montmorency in Laval took place in stages, as the police completed their search of the premises.

“For the moment, there is nothing to suggest that the suspect entered the college,” the SPL spokesperson said Saturday morning.

To get out, authorities identified each person before escorting them out, but people had to leave their vehicles at the scene to preserve the crime scene for investigators. 

People are shown inside College Montmorency in Laval, Que., Friday, November 11, 2022, where three people were shot in a park close to the college. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 12, 2022. 

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