Montreal police announced Wednesday they have arrested a second person in the drive-by shooting death of a 15-year-old girl last year.
Cmdr. Paul Verreault, head of the Montreal police service's major crimes division, said a 27-year-old man was arrested Wednesday morning in connection with the February 2021 killing of Meriem Boundaoui.
Police believe the suspect arrested Wednesday and Salim Touaibi, who was arrested Monday, were "directly involved" in the shooting, Verreault told reporters Wednesday.
"These two people were in the vehicle at the time of the event," he said, but he declined to comment further on what role each of them is alleged to have played in the crime.
"We're still very early in the investigation," he said. "This is an investigation that is still ongoing."
Touaibi, 26, faces one charge of first-degree murder and four charges of attempted murder.
Verreault said he couldn't say when the man arrested Wednesday, whose name was not released, would appear in court. He said police arrested four other people Wednesday morning who are allegedly part of a criminal group linked to the two men.
He said the shooting came after the escalation of a conflict between that group and another criminal group, but he did not provide more details. The four other people arrested will face charges of drug trafficking, uttering threats and assault, he said.
Boundaoui was sitting in a car with another person when a second car drove up and someone opened fire. Boundaoui and a 21-year-old man who was on the sidewalk were hit by bullets. Boundaoui had no link to the conflict, Verreault said.
Montreal's interim police chief, Sophie Roy, said she hopes the arrests will give Boundaoui's family some comfort.
"Like the rest of the public, we were shocked by the murder of young Meriem and other young people," she told reporters. "We may be police officers, but we're also humans with families and children."
Boundaoui was the first of several young people to die violently in the past year and a half in Montreal, prompting widespread concern and calls to do more to reduce gun violence in the city.
Montreal has had one of the lowest homicide rates of major cities in Canada. In 2020, the most recent year for which data was available, the homicide rate in Montreal was less than half the Canadian average, according to Statistics Canada.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2022.
Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press