The family of a Montreal teen shot dead by police over the weekend appealed for calm in the city’s north end.
Fredy Villanueva, 18, died Saturday after he was involved in an altercation with police that ended with gunshots.
His death sparked outrage and anger in Montreal North, where young people rioted the following day, looting stores and burning cars while attacking firefighters and ambulance workers.
Villaneuva’s friends and family gathered at a funeral home Wednesday afternoon for final visitation. His funeral is Thursday.
Victor Henriquez, a family spokesman, said younger residents in Montreal North should honour Villanueva’s memory by respecting the neighbourhood.
The teen's family is "asking the people to [make these] moments as peaceful as possible," he said Wednesday. "We don't want any violence."
On Wednesday, Quebec's immigration minister, Yolande James, called for better dialogue between authorities and young people, and urged residents in the borough to trust provincial police assigned to investigate Villanueva's death.
Quebec provincial police promised transparency as they meet with eyewitnesses, alleged participants and the two police officers involved in the incident.
Lt. François Doré said questions about the officers' training and experience will be answered once the investigation is complete.
There are conflicting reports about how many young people were involved and how they acted when the officers approached them in the parking lot where the shooting happened.
Community leaders are calling for a full-blown public inquiry to establish what really happened on the weekend.
The Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) and the Black Coalition of Quebec say only a public inquiry will establish a wider sociodemographic context that could help explain the events that led to a riot.
Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis said it's too early to decide whether a public inquiry is needed.
Villanueva's funeral will be held Thursday at 10 a.m.
Community remains shaken
The streets in Montreal North were back to normal two days after the riot, but many people still don't understand Villanueva's death and are skeptical about the police investigation.
"The cops didn't know what they were doing," 49-year old Daniel Bourgouin told the Canadian Press.
"They're usually doing some good, but this time they're wrong."
"The investigation will determine if [the police] did not act properly," said Jay Jordan, 26. "But for me, I think the police have to take part of the responsibility for what happened."
"I think the biggest problem is not the young people," said Éric Plante, 33. "It's squarely the police, because without their bungling, we wouldn't have had this trouble."
Firefighters reeling from experience
Six of the firefighters called to the Sunday riot scene are now on sick leave, the force confirmed.
Firefighters from Station 18 in Montreal North are badly shaken after they were targeted by some of the rioters, who threw rocks at them while they answered a call to put out a garbage fire, union spokesman Chris Ross said.
"That's what makes it so difficult to understand," he said Wednesday. "This is something that is frequently unheard of as a firefighter. We expect our danger to come from the building, to come from the fire. We're really not accustomed to having to worry about the population."
Security has been increased at the station. Trucks now leave in pairs and with police escort when answering calls, Ross said.
If some of the remaining firefighters request a transfer from the station, Ross said he wouldn't be surprised.