Police shooter says Villanueva's death not preventable

A Montreal police officer who shot and killed Fredy Villanueva said nothing could have been done to prevent the teen's death given the circumstances that night in August 2008.

The Montreal police officer who shot and killed Fredy Villanueva says nothing could have been done to prevent the shooting, given the circumstances that night in August 2008.

Const. Jean-Loup Lapointe was testifying Thursday for the third day at a coroner's inquest into Villanueva's death.

Dany Villanueva, Fredy's brother, is a key witness at the inquest. ((CBC))
Lapointe said he believes he acted calmly and deliberately when a confrontation with Fredy Villanueva and his friends deteriorated into bloodshed, with three of the men suffering bullet wounds.

Lapointe and his partner, Stéphanie Pilotte, had approached Villanueva, his older brother Dany and their friends playing dice in a Montreal North park at dusk on Aug. 9, 2008. The inquiry heard earlier that there was an outstanding warrant against Dany Villanueva.

Lapointe told coroner André Perreault he remembers giving clear orders to the group, "but I can't control the actions of those around me." When the confrontation escalated, Lapointe drew his gun.

Under questioning from his own lawyer, Lapointe said the men were wearing baggy clothes, and he couldn't tell whether any were hiding weapons. Dany Villanueva was refusing to co-operate, however, and acting so suspiciously he appeared to be hiding something, Lapointe said.

After he shot Fredy Villanueva and two other men in the group, Lapointe called for backup but neglected to give his position to the dispatcher. When emergency services arrived at the scene, he turned over his gun so he could take an ambulance to the hospital.

Const. Jean-Loup Lapointe's gun was submitted as evidence at the inquest. ((CBC))
Lapointe later met with a union representative and summarized what happened. The inquest was told this meeting violated basic Montreal police procedure because it happened before Lapointe talked to investigators.
A Quebec ministerial directive says a police officer must co-operate with investigators after a police shooting, but the inquest heard the rules were not followed in the Villanueva case.

Lapointe refused to say anything to investigators, explaining on Thursday that he believed he was under investigation for murder. He said he chose his right to remain silent over his professional obligation to co-operate.

When asked what recommendations he would make to prevent similar situations, Lapointe told coroner Perreault he'd given the question a lot of thought since the shooting but doesn't think anything would have made a difference.

Lapointe testified he was acting as he was trained to do as a police officer.