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A 26-year-old man is dead after being shot by police in the parking lot of a motel in Montreal's Saint-Laurent borough early on Aug. 4.Peter Mccabe/The Canadian Press

Two days of fear and bloodshed in Montreal ended with an early-morning police shooting on Thursday, after officers stormed into a suburban motel room and killed the man suspected of randomly shooting dead three people.

Abdulla Shaikh, 26, who police believe was responsible for the shooting deaths in Montreal and Laval on Tuesday and Wednesday, was pronounced dead at the scene after a police raid at the Motel Pierre in the borough of Saint-Laurent around 7 a.m.

The man was holding a firearm when police entered his room with a warrant, and he was struck with at least one projectile, according to Guy Lapointe, a spokesperson for the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), which investigates injuries and deaths related to police shootings in Quebec.

The victims included a hospital worker, a young skateboarder and the father of a well-known boxer.

It appears that Mr. Shaikh had no connection to his alleged victims and that he chose them at random, said Sergeant Audrey-Anne Bilodeau, spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), which has taken over the other three death investigations from the Montreal police. He is believed to have acted alone, with no connection to organized crime and has a history of being the subject of police interventions related to mental health episodes, she added.

Quebec to announce funding for crime prevention as Montreal police probe shooting

The provincial police force declined to say what type of firearm Mr. Shaikh used or how he obtained it, citing their investigation.

At the time of the shooting, Mr. Shaikh was facing outstanding charges relating to assault, sexual assault and criminal harassment, dating back to 2016.

In 2015, he was charged with causing a public disturbance, criminal harassment and mischief. These charges appear to have been withdrawn after a COVID-19 postponement. Overlapping failure-to-comply charges were also withdrawn.

In 2018, he was charged with mischief. After a mental examination, he was deemed not criminally responsible.

The killings this week began in a bus shelter on Tuesday night when Mr. Shaikh allegedly shot André Fernand Lemieux, 64, the father of professional boxer David Lemieux.

“It is an incomprehensible and gratuitous act that has been committed and it is now up to the police to do their investigation to try to understand,” Andréanne Lambert, a communications co-ordinator for Eye of the Tiger management (which represents David Lemieux), said in an e-mail.

Just over an hour later, in a nearby neighbourhood, police believe Mr. Shaikh shot and killed Mohamed Salah Belhaj, 48, an intervention officer at a local mental health hospital.

A third man was killed in the neighbouring city of Laval, seemingly at random, around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Witnesses said the 22-year-old victim, Alexis Levis-Crevier, was riding a skateboard at the time of the shooting.

Laval resident Saed Reyad was sitting outside his house with his son when he heard gunshots, but didn’t realize how close they were until he saw sparks in the air. His wife later said she saw the shooter extend his arm to point his gun. Mr. Reyad also saw the man shoot into the air and then heard tires screeching.

The body lay in the street for hours, surrounded by a pool of blood. The fact that the killer was targeting people at random made Mr. Reyad’s close brush with violence feel all the more disturbing.

“I was shook – my heart was pounding,” he said. “It could have been us.”

At the Motel Pierre on Thursday, flanked by a strip mall and a mosque along a large boulevard in an outlying neighbourhood of Montreal, police marked with tape the site of the BEI investigation. Mr. Lapointe, the spokesperson, said he did not know whether Mr. Shaikh opened fire before being shot during the raid, but said that the suspect was holding a firearm when officers entered the room.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante congratulated police in a statement on Twitter Thursday, writing that the “past 48 hours have been trying for everyone.”

“Once again, our police show their effectiveness and their dedication to the security of Montrealers,” she said.

Also on Thursday, the federal government announced $41.8-million in funding to the Quebec government to prevent gun and gang violence. In a press release, the mayor called it a “strong signal of the commitment by both levels of government to supporting efforts in our metropolis to prevent gun violence.”

“We hope that the funds allocated to Montréal will allow us to strengthen our ability, the ability of the SPVM [Montreal police], and the ability of community organizations to support young people by offering them stimulating and safe environments that keep them away from violence,” she added.

The spate of shootings by an apparently mentally ill man with a long criminal record points to governments’ failure to properly support people with mental illness, said Ted Rutland, associate professor of geography, planning, and environment at Concordia University.

“If you look at the circumstances of this person’s life and the multiple opportunities to provide this person support to live a better life and not harm other people, it’s a failure,” he said. “We overfund police and massively underfund all the other things we need to keep each other safe.”

With a report from The Canadian Press

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