A small memorial was held in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal borough Sunday afternoon to denounce the recent violence among the city’s youth population.
It came just days after a 17-year-old was shot and killed in that neighbourhood.
Amir Benayad was working on getting his drivers license before his life tragically ended.
“He was a great guy, big smile on his face. He had dreams,” says 15-year-old Joanes Mufale, a friend of Benayad. “He was always thinking about cars. We used to stay on Facebook Marketplace searching for cars every single day. It was his big dream to have his dream car.”
The two teens had been friends for nearly a decade.
“My heart is broken. Everything is numb inside of me. I can’t feel pain anymore. One of my brothers died,” he says.
The 17-year-old was shot and killed last Thursday evening in the Plateau borough. He was Montreal’s first homicide of 2022. Many people at Sunday’s memorial said more action is needed to tackle gun violence.
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“I’m mostly angry because the government is not doing anything,” said Naila Naoui, a young woman who spoke at the memorial. “They’re not trying to find solutions. They’re not looking, they’re not giving it enough attention,” she adds.
The shooting occurred at suppertime close to the outdoor playground of a daycare — in a neighbourhood full of children and young families.
Benayad is one of several teenagers who have lost their lives to gun violence and violent crimes in the last year.
Meriem Boundaoui, a 15-year-old girl was shot and killed last February in St. Leonard while she was in a car struck by several bullets. 16-year-old Jannai Dopwell-Bailey was stabbed in October outside his school in the Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough, and 16-year-old Thomas Trudel, was shot and killed in November near his home in St-Michel.
Montreal is planning to host a forum later this month on ways to reduce gun violence.