The coroner’s inquest into the 2008 police shooting death of Montreal North teenager Fredy Villanueva resumed today.
It was stalled for months over legal wrangling by the city and the police union. The latter contested revealing any information about officers’ service weapons at the inquest.
Villanueva was shot by Montreal police Const. Jean-Loup Lapointe in Henri-Bourassa Park in Montreal North on Aug. 9, 2008.
The 18-year-old was playing an illegal game of dice with his brother and three friends. Lapointe and his partner Stéphanie Pilotte identified several of the friends as local gang members.
A report written by Lapointe within a month of the incident said that trouble arose when he and Pilotte attempted to take Villanueva’s older brother, Dany, into police custody.
Lapointe said the young men approached the officers and he was so concerned about the threat of being disarmed by them that he shot his gun "three or four times," without even removing it from the holster.
The shots killed the younger Villanueva and injured two others. Demonstations and riots happened in Montreal North in the wake of the shooting.
Earlier Wednesday, a weapons expert from the Montreal police testified as to how difficult it is to manipulate an officer’s gun.
Alexandre Limoges originally testified it was possible for someone else to remove a police officer's gun from its holster.
But upon cross-examination from lawyers representing the Villanueva family and those who were injured in the incident, Limoges changed his story, saying it would be difficult for someone with no knowledge of the holster to be able to remove the gun quickly.
The gun holster has two safety mechanisms.
The coroner’s inquest, overseen by Quebec court judge André Perreault, was called to determine the cause and circumstances of Villanueva’s death. It resumes Friday, June 28.