The 23 photographs strung alongside a Montreal North parking lot told the story of Fredy Villanueva, shot and killed by a Montreal police officer in the same place 10 years ago Thursday.
There’s a baby Villanueva with fat crayons, drawing a red flower. In others he poses while ice skating, or blows out 15 candles on a bright blue and white birthday cake. They are the everyday artifacts of a child’s life that are precious to a family: a teenage Villanueva sits at a computer in a living room decorated for Christmas, or scrapes food from a plate in a kitchen.
Richard Louisor, who lives in Montreal North, broke out in laughter as he looked at Villanueva’s baby photos. “It’s very nice to see him like this,” said Louisor, who knew Villanueva. “It’s unjust that he was killed.”
Lilian Maribel Madrid Antunes releases a white dove during the memorial to mark the death of her son, Fredy Villanueva. ALLEN MCINNIS / MONTREAL GAZETTE
Members of the Villanueva family and their support committee held an event to remember Fredy on Thursday evening. Villanueva was 18 and playing dice with his older brother and friends in a park on the night that Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe fatally shot him in August 2008.
Eighteen family members and others close to Villanueva stood in a semicircle close to the place where Fredy was killed and released white doves into the sky.
Will Prosper began to cry as he admitted he was exhausted and frustrated with 10 years of hearing stereotypes of Montreal North’s youth.
“In our community, our biggest pride is our youth — and everywhere in Quebec, they are demonized. Their names are trashed, they are disrespected and their memories are hidden. We say this is unacceptable and that is the reason we demand a memorial for Fredy,” said Prosper, who helped form the support committee for the Villanuevas.