Sakir Shaikh, elder brother of a man with mental disturbances who fatally shot three individuals randomly during an aggressive 24-hour gunfire outbreak in the city of Montreal last year, expressed serious concerns at a coroner inquiry on Wednesday about the modifications to his brother’s medication plan just before the unnerving incident.
In 2018, the first signs of grave mental health issues were observed in Abdulla Shaikh. During the next two years, his condition remitted only to return with a resurgence, necessitating two protracted hospital admissions. Sakir Shaikh questioned the hospital’s decision behind readjusting Abdulla’s drug regiment of injections had been changed from monthly to tri-monthly sequences. His brother was supposed to get his next shot a few days after the police shootout that led to his death. Though he did not mention the exact name of the medicine, he clearly expressed his doubts.
The flatfooted inquiry where Coroner Géhane Kamel plays the role of inquisitor commenced after the heart-rending report of the triple murders of André Lemieux, aged 64, Mohamed Belhaj, aged 48, and 22-year-old Alex Lévis Crevier, as well as the death of 26-year-old Abdulla Shaikh. Abdulla was shot dead in an active shootout with police in a Montreal motel, possessing two homemade artisanal weapons with him.
Federal agents brought to the fore that Shaikh’s family believed he was not diligently following his prescription regime. Sakir Shaikh unveiled his pain to the coroner of losing his brother and the realization that he also stood guilty for snatching away three innocent lives.
Sakir urged the coroner to focus on simplifying police support procedures. When his brother’s symptoms of schizophrenia returned in 2020, he requested the Montreal police’s assistance, fearing that Abdulla might pose a threat to society. However, he was told that the police could not arrest Abdulla or seize his property unless he had committed a crime.
Testifying later, an ex-girlfriend of Abdulla, Marllely Florez Serna, recollected the psychological, financial, and physical abuse she faced throughout their three-year-long relationship, which she terminated in 2016 due to Abdulla’s aggressive behavior towards anyone who infuriated him.
The series of killings, all within a single hour on August 2, 2022, in Montreal saw André Lemieux and Mohamed Belhaj lose their lives outside their premises, before Shaikh traveled to Ontario, visited Toronto Zoo and Canada’s Wonderland, and returned to Quebec to fatally shoot Alex Lévis Crevier while he was skateboarding on a street in Laval, a northern suburb of Montreal.
In their emotionally laden statements, the victim families recounted their ongoing grief and sorrow. David Lemieux, a retired professional boxer and André Lemieux’s son, reminisced about his father fondly, calling him a big-hearted, generous mechanic with a penchant for cars. The fondest memory of his father remains a photograph of him holding his infant grandson before his untimely demise.
Mohamed Belhaj’s wife of a decade, Karima Hoimdia, struggled to fill the enormous void left by her husband’s death, whose sheer loveability, earned him the title of an “angel.” His death left her as a single mother of their two children, aged seven and five. He was on his way to an overtime shift at a hospital when he became a fatal victim of the shootout. She now carries the burden of playing both parent roles to their children, attempting to fill their life with happiness despite the palpable sadness.
Roxanne Lévis Crevier, sister of the youngest victim Alex, told the inquest about her brother’s popularity among her three children and the detrimental impact of his death on them. The cruel loss of her brother, who lived just three blocks away from her home in Laval, weighs heavily on her and her family.