Montrealer Mohsen Belhaj just got back Wednesday from Tunisia, where he attended his dad’s funeral, only to receive more bad news.
“As soon as I arrived and my cellphone connected to the airport Wi-Fi, I started getting messages and phone calls,” he told Global News from his home in the city’s Ahuntsic-Cartierville neighbourhood.
His brother Mohamed Belhaj, a year his senior, was killed the night before on his way to work.
The 48-year -old was one of two men who were killed in separate incidents Tuesday night. Another, according to some media reports, was André Fernand Lemieux, 64, the father of Canadian boxer David Lemieux.
A third man, Alex Lévis Crevier, 22 was also shot and killed Wednesday night.
“Now in two days, three people are gone,” Belhaj lamented.
Thursday morning Montreal police shot and killed a 26 year-old who they suspect was the man responsible for the killings.
Belhaj said the news of his brother’s death has hit his family hard.
“My mom, God help her. That’s all I can say,” he exclaimed.
Mohamed was an employee at the Albert-Prévost Mental Health Hospital in Cartierville. According to Belhaj, his brother has two young children.
“He’s one of the nicest guys in the family,” he said. “You would never hear any bad news or problem from him whatsoever.”
In an interview with TVA, Nouvelles Crevier’s sister, Roxanne Lévis Grenier, said she was very close to her brother and that it feels like a part of her has been ripped away.
“His first apartment close by,” she said. “He was happy with his first job, he didn’t provoke anyone, he didn’t know anyone.”
The shootings have families like Belhaj’s questioning whether the city is safe.
“I have three kids,” he pointed out. “I mean, if my kid goes to school you think I feel safe? This is everybody’s preoccupation now.”
He does wonder what all levels of government are doing to tackle the recent rise in gun violence, but for now his main preoccupation is heading back to Tunisia in less than a week to help organize yet another funeral — his big brother’s.