Montreal police Const. Andre Lalonde laid to rest 20 years ago, but murder still unsolved
Twenty years ago this week, Montreal was burying a police officer killed in the line of duty. It was the second cop killing in just six months.
Two decades later, their killers have never been found.
Patrick Lalonde was 22 when his father, Const. André Lalonde, was killed. He was studying at CEGEP when the director pulled him out of class with news something had happened.
“I figured it was a car accident,” he told Global News. “But I never thought that somebody was going to shoot my father.”
It was April 29, 1996 and Lalonde was alone in his cruiser. The 30-year police veteran was waiting for his partner, who was at the station picking up a radar gun for a traffic operation, when he decided to pull over a Ford Tempo with a bad muffler that was passing by.
Lalonde radioed in that he was stopping the car and then got out of his cruiser. As he approached the vehicle, the driver shot him three times. One of the bullets hit a major artery. He was less than two months from retirement. He and his wife had already bought a new RV for the first vacation of their new life, a road trip to Alaska.
He was working just about the safest patrol in the city, traffic duty in the quiet affluent suburb of Senneville. He was killed before he could even react.
“He got out of the vehicle to go see the guy, as he’d done many time,” his son Patrick said. “As he got close, the guy shot him right away. He didn’t have time to get his gun. Many people loved my father. It was hard to say somebody killed him.”
Const. Odette Pinard was also working alone when she was killed on Nov. 25, 1995. The 30-year-old was working in a small community police station while the city was being hit by a snowstorm.
At around 4 p.m., a lone gunman walked into the station and fired one bullet. Pinard was hit in the face. She died of her injuries, leaving two young children without a mother. She had just returned from taking some from time off.
“What I hope for is to know what happened,” said Yvon Pinard, her father. “Whether the assassin is sentenced or not, that’s not what preoccupies me. I want to know, to understand, what happened. That’s all.
“We told ourselves that because she was a police officer, they would find the killer,” he told Global News. “But, no. I know the energy was put into the investigation, but with no results. That’s what makes me nervous.”
Polygraph expert John Galianos worked on both cases, conducting numerous interviews with potential suspects and informants. He said resources were never a problem.
“They put their best detectives on it. It’s like a child murder. You put your best on it. Money is no object,” he said.
There are theories in both cases, but police have never been able to lay charges against anyone.
In the Lalonde murder, sources say the killer was likely a bank robber who felt cornered. He was driving a stolen car and carrying a weapon. When he was pulled over for the noisy muffler, he was facing jail time.
“You don’t carry a gun and shoot a police officer unless you’re wanted,” explained retired officer Morris Trudeau.
In the Pinard murder, sources say the killing was a distraction. Thieves were robbing a business across town and wanted to keep police busy. The main suspect in the case would have left for Haiti, out of the reach of Canadian authorities.
Montreal police consider both investigations still open, but the two families say they haven’t heard anything. There have been no updates on the cases for more than five years.
“I know it’s hard for police to find the killer, but with all the resources they have now, maybe someday they’ll catch the guy,” Patrick Lalonde said. “I still hope for that. Just to close the file.”
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.