A 26-year-old man from Montreal has been arrested and charged in connection with the drive-by shooting death of a teenage girl in the city’s east end in February 2021.
Montreal police Cmdr. Salvatore Serrao provided details Monday about the arrest of Salim Touaibi nearly a year and a half after the death of Meriem Boundaoui.
The 15-year-old girl was with another person inside a stopped car in the city’s Saint-Leonard borough when a second car drove up and someone opened fire. She and a 21-year-old man who was on the sidewalk were hit by bullets, and she was later declared dead.
“She had nothing to do with the conflict,” said Serrao.
Police said Touaibi has been detained since March on other charges related to violence and gun possession.
Touaibi appeared in court at the time that police addressed reporters Monday afternoon to face a charge of first-degree murder in Boundaoui’s death. He was also charged with four attempted murder charges.
Serrao said the investigation is complex, and that police know there were other people present at the time of the shooting or possibly involved in the crime. He did not confirm whether Touaibi was the one who pulled the trigger, saying only that he participated “actively.”
“The investigation is still ongoing,” Serrao said. “We’re constantly searching for any clues.”
Boundaoui’s death sent shockwaves in Quebec’s Algerian community and prompted concerns about gun violence in Montreal. A few days later, the city and its police department announced a new team of investigators to target weapon traffickers a few days.
On Monday, police declined to release more details on the investigation into Boundaoui’s death or explain why it took almost a year and a half to make an arrest.
Serrao said the homicide resolution rate for Montreal police is 92 per cent for crimes committed in 2020, 62 per cent for 2021 and 54 per cent so far this year — proof, he said, that solving crimes takes time.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante applauded the city’s police service for its work leading up to the arrest.
“Rest assured that we are working hard to keep Montreal safe and prevent crimes like this,” she wrote on Twitter. “And our efforts are paying off.”
Anyone with information about Boundaoui’s death is asked to contact police.
— with files from Global News’ Gloria Henriquez and The Canadian Press