Old Brewery Mission seeks to reassure clients after fatal police shooting

Matthew Pearce, the mission's president and CEO, says he wants to make sure that people on the street know the mission is a safe place.

Mission's president says tensions flared between police and shelter's users following incident

A man armed with a sharp object in each hand was shot and killed Friday afternoon by Montreal police. (CBC)

The Old Brewery Mission is trying to reassure its clients after one of them was shot and killed by Montreal police just steps from its front door.

A man armed with a sharp object in each hand was shot Friday afternoon by police.

The man was suspected of having attacked another person with the objects inside a building at the corner of René-Lévesque Boulevard and St-Urbain Street around 2:30 p.m., according to police.

The man, whose name has not yet been released, had been a client of the Mission on and off for 11 years. 
Matthew Pearce is the president and CEO of the Old Brewery Mission. (Neil Herland/CBC)

Matthew Pearce, the mission's president and CEO, said he wants to make sure that people on the street know the mission is a safe place.

"It's essential that people, when they come inside the mission, they are leaving the street behind so they are coming to a place of respect of dignity and of security," said Pearce.

Tensions high 

Pearce said tensions flared between another client and police in the wake of the shooting. 

"I was told there was an incident where someone made a critical remark to the police," he told CBC.

"And the police reacted with some degree of aggression ... We feel that the reaction that the police had to that remark was excessive and I'll be following up with Montreal's police chief."

Pierce said employees were able to contain the situation by following lockdown procedures.

Overall, the mission's security measures proved effective at managing the situation inside the building, he said. 

"Our role is to reduce tensions at all times so it is a concern to us when third parties like the police are inside our building. We don't want them to contribute to the creating of issues that we then have to work to resolve."

Psychologists are working with members of the mission's community, including clients, staff and volunteers.

The province's independent investigation unit has taken over the investigation.

With files from Arian Zarrinkoub