Sadness, surprise, anxiety: parents and students at François-La Bernarde school were in shock on Tuesday, the day after a violent attack on a 10-year-old girl as she was walking home. A 21-year-old man has been arrested and faces four counts. Mental health issues may be involved, police say.
” It worries me. We have seen the resurgence of violence in the past year, particularly in Rivière-des-Prairies. There, it’s approaching in Pointe-aux-Trembles. It’s scary, to say the least,” says Francis Béland, a father whose daughter is in 4and year.
Mr. Béland, who accompanies his daughter to school every day, was recently considering letting her go alone. “With all this, my decision will be delayed, probably in the fall,” he confessed, adding that such “gratuitous” aggression made him fear that anyone could be targeted.
The assault occurred on Boulevard du Tricentenaire, near Rue Notre-Dame, shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Monday. Two young girls “were driving on a sidewalk when they were approached by a 21-year-old man who suddenly attacked a young girl by beating her,” said the spokesperson for the Montreal police, Raphael Bergeron. Passers-by then intervened to put an end to the attack. Almost at the same time, patrol officers passing by intervened and arrested the man.
Transported to the hospital, the young girl suffered from a nervous shock and was seriously injured, having received several blows to the head. However, his life is not threatened. Tanvir Singh, 21, was charged on Tuesday with aggravated assault, assault while carrying a weapon, assault causing bodily harm and possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the peace public. Police say mental health issues may be involved. The accused, who is not known to the police, will undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
“We don’t think about that”
For Hilda Davalos, whose two children aged 7 and 8 attend school, the saddest thing is that young people “witness things like this”. “They have no malice, my children. And yesterday, we had to talk to them about all that, so that they would pay attention. They are in shock. These are really disturbing things, and which never happen in normal times, ”she confided.
Of course, this is really shocking for my wife and me. My daughter was also shocked. The first reaction we had was to say to ourselves that we had to register him for daycare.
Hocine Merabeti, who lives not far from where the attack took place
Céline Primeau was expecting her granddaughter when The Press questioned her. “Of course it worries me, especially since my daughter and her children are staying next door. We don’t think about that or that it will happen to us. We always think it will happen elsewhere, ”she said with a sigh, adding that she hopes security measures in the neighborhood will be reinforced.
“All that matters is the safety of my daughter,” also launched Manuel Palacios, who lamented that the police are less present in his neighborhood than elsewhere. “You don’t often see patrol cars here, although you should. »
On social networks, the relatives of the girl, whose identity is protected by a non-publication order of the Court, demanded that “justice be done”. “This man stared at my niece on her way home, and my well-mannered and ever so loving niece smiled at this man not knowing what he could do to her,” her aunt wrote, demanding accountability. for all the victims of this kind of patients who hang out in our streets”.
On the municipal scene, Valérie Plante spoke Tuesday of a “terrible aggression” and a “savage attack”.
It is absolutely disturbing. We are waiting for additional information, for light to be shed on this unacceptable attack.
Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal
“This news upsets me. I will never be able to explain how an individual can attack a 10-year-old girl,” also lamented the leader of the official opposition, Aref Salem.
In a message sent to parents, the Pointe-de-l’Île school service center (CSSPI) for its part confirmed that in order to support students and staff members in these difficult times, “the intervention in critical situations of the CSSPI has been deployed and will remain in place as long as necessary”. In particular, seven psychologists were sent to the scene.
With Louis-Samuel Perron, The Press
Violence on the rise
Quebec is currently “in a post-pandemic context where all forms of violence are on the increase”, observes the DD Cécile Rousseau, professor of social and cultural psychiatry at McGill University. According to her, the amplification of speeches of intolerance also accentuates the risks for people suffering from mental disorders “to express what circulates as social speech, and to put it into action”. The psychiatrist, however, warns the public against the risk of further stigmatizing people with mental health problems, who are not all violent. The important thing is to treat the subject soberly, avoiding sensationalism, to avoid “contagion”, that is to say that other people also take action. “To demonize an aggressor is also, indirectly, to glorify him”, warns the DD Rousseau.
Lila Dussault, The Press