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2022 killing spree: Quebec coroner makes call for specialized mental health tribunal

MONTREAL — A Quebec coroner has issued a final report into the violent deaths of three people who were shot at random in the Montreal area by a mentally ill man, recommending the province create a dedicated court to deal with mental health cases.

Coroner Géhane Kamel makes several recommendations including transforming the province’s mental health review board into a specialized tribunal as is the case in Ontario, which would allow different actors including police, medical professionals and prosecutors to be involved in files.

Kamel’s report published today follows an inquiry last year into the August 2022 murders of André Lemieux, Mohamed Belhaj and Alex Lévis Crevier as well as the death of Abdulla Shaikh, the 26-year-old killer who died in an exchange of gunfire with police at a Montreal motel.

She says there were several red flags in Shaikh’s case that included lengthy court delays, a lack of co-operation from Shaikh with front-line mental health workers and a lack of followup after his file was closed, other than quarterly psychiatrist visits and medication monitoring.

The coroner says there is a shortage of mental health resources in general, and specifically of monitoring for people who fall under the provincial mental health review board and either refuse or are reluctant to receive help.

Shaikh had two ghost guns — homemade weapons — in his possession, and Kamel concluded that the killings had been planned out, for reasons only the deceased shooter knows.

She says his behaviour was not typical of someone in psychosis but rather a personality disorder.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 29, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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