They were electricians working on routine store renovations when suddenly they were caught in the middle of a gangland hit.
The men were on a job at the Old Montreal clothing boutique where four men were gunned down on Thursday. Two of the shooting victims died.
A junior electrician working in a back office was shot in the face and is in serious condition in hospital. The 31-year-old man had the misfortune of standing in the open when the gunmen arrived. The more senior worker was on the sales floor, dived for cover behind furniture and escaped unhurt.
"He was right there, but they didn't see me … he was where the action was, so they saw him and he got shot. I was scared shitless," said the older man, a married father and grandfather.
"I was trying not to be seen and I didn't want to see … I didn't want to get shot, you know. We were just electricians in the wrong place at the wrong time."
The senior man called 911 for his junior worker, whom he described as a serious young man who was always on time and didn't drink or do drugs. The junior employee has no wife or children, he said.
"I thought he could work for me forever," the man said.
The brazen shooting at the i Flawnego boutique targeted a shop owned by a man identified as Ducarme Joseph, a 41-year-old with known gang ties and a long, violent criminal history. The electrician said Mr. Joseph escaped, apparently unhurt. One of the dead men, 27-year-old Peter Christopoulos, was reportedly Mr. Joseph's bodyguard. Mr. Joseph was arrested yesterday on a charge of violating bail conditions.
The senior electrician, who asked that his identity be withheld to prevent reprisals, spent hours telling his story to police. He says he was unable to identify the two attackers. Other witnesses described them as black men who wore wigs and white bandanas during the attack and walked calmly away from the scene of the crime, peeling off their disguises.
Police say the shootings were a professional hit. The case was quickly classified as organized crime infighting or retribution.
Mr. Joseph's name is found in a series of search warrants and other court documents describing him as a drug dealer, loan enforcer with an entourage of bodyguards. Police say he feared retaliation from Arab and Italian mobsters, and motorcycle and street gangs.
Gang experts theorize that the shootings were linked to the December murder of Nicolo (Nick) Rizzuto, the son of the reputed Montreal Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto.
Quebec's most famous crime chronicler, Claude Poirier, spoke yesterday of mob bounties exceeding $100,000 for Mr. Rizzuto's killers.Report Typo/Error