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Bloody summer in the Montreal region and with four people shot and killed this week alone

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It’s been a particularly bloody summer in the Montreal region and with four people shot and killed this week alone, the Quebec government and two of its major police forces have promised to work together and act quickly.

On Monday, a drive-by shooting in Rivière-des-Praires left three men dead and two injured. On Thursday, a 31-year-old Longueuil man was killed in a shooting on the South Shore. Most of the victims were known to police.

The death toll this week has led to government announcements and stern statements from the police along the lines of “enough is enough,” but it has also raised questions about what is the best way to tackle the problem of gun violence.

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Maria Mourani, a criminologist who has studied Montreal street gangs and written about organized crime in Quebec and around the world, says she’s not surprised by the recent rise in gun violence.

Mourani says she started to notice an uptick in shootings last fall, but things have escalated in the last couple months.

“When we have shootings it means there are conflicts between different criminal groups,” she said. “Fights over territory, over drugs, unpaid debts…sometimes it’s just two people who disagree.”

She says an ongoing war between rival gangs, the Profit Boys in Rivière-des-Prairies and Zone 43 from Montréal-Nord, is causing a lot of the bloodshed.

Social media accounts connected to rap artists who display the Profit Boys colours and slogans in their music videos, show several comments from people on both sides: some sending condolences to a rapper who was killed in last Monday’s shooting, and others making light of his death and promising further violence.

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