Fredy Villanueva, 18, was killed by police in 2008. CBC
Five years after their son’s death, Montreal’s Villanueva family may finally find some peace today.
The Quebec coroner’s office is expected to release its final report into 18-year-old Fredy Villanueva’s 2008 shooting death this morning.
The young man was shot dead on Aug. 9, 2008 by Const. Jean-Loup Lapointe of the Montreal police, after Villaneuva was found playing an illegal game of dice with his brother and three friends in Henri-Bourassa Park.
The coroner’s inquest into Villanueva’s death, led by Quebec court judge André Perreault, resumed in June 2013 with the testimony of two final witnesses.
The inquest had been repeatedly delayed by legal wrangling with the police union, which contested revealing any information about officers’ service weapons.
In the days following the shooting, Lapointe said he pulled his gun out during the confrontation in the park because he feared for his life. He said he and his partner Const. Stéphanie Pilotte were both in “imminent danger.”
Lapointe said that the situation had escalated after Villanueva’s older brother Dany refused to identify himself and co-operate with police.
Two of the other men suffered bullet wounds during the altercation in the park. Demonstrations held in the Montreal North neighbourhood following Villanueva’s death turned violent and sparked rioting.
The Villanueva family after the shooting
In the year after Villanueva’s death, the family filed a $1 million lawsuit against the city and the two police officers involved.
The family, which has lived in Quebec since immigrating from Honduras in 1998, moved from Montreal North following Villanueva’s death. They eventually settled in Repentigny.
In 2010, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board ordered the deportation of Dany Villanueva back to Honduras for his criminal history, which includes involvement with street gangs and an armed robbery conviction.
Last month, the elder Villanueva pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a 2010 arrest involving driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and violating his probation.
Villanueva’s death is marked each year by a vigil in Montreal North.
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