A bleeding man stumbled into a town hall following a double-shooting Wednesday that left one person dead, one injured, and one sleepy cottage-country municipality wondering whether it had become caught up in a Mafia war.
This is the second time in less than two weeks that Quebec Provincial Police are investigating a shooting in Ste-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson, a Laurentian mountain municipality of 2,700 residents, about an hour and a half northwest of Montreal.
Police said they were alerted to the double-shooting when, at 9:45 a.m., a wounded man wandered into the town hall pleading for help.
He led authorities to another gunshot victim in a nearby luxury home, where the shootings are both suspected to have occurred.
The man found in the home was later declared dead, said QPP Sergeant Gino Pare. He added that the survivor's condition appears to have improved.
Police would not release the name or age of either man, and did not address media speculation that the shooting might have been linked to an ongoing Mafia war.
"It's too early to advance such a hypothesis," Sgt. Pare said.
Linda Fortier, the mayor of the town, sought to reassure the public.
"I find it really unfortunate that such incidents occur in a community as peaceful as Ste-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson," Ms. Fortier said.
"It is not the kind of crime that suggests a rise in violence... We continue to believe that these are isolated incidents and that our city remains a safe place."
The shootings mark the second incident in 10 days and the third of 2012. On Sept. 29, a 28-year-old man was shot in the parking lot of a bar but managed to get away. On Jan. 11, three men were shot in a home.
QPP would not say if the cases were linked.
Town hall was closed Wednesday as police blocked off a large area around the building. Municipal employees were sent home and events at the city's cultural centre were also cancelled.