Sunday, June 12, 2011


Family and friends of Patrick Limoges gathered Sunday at his funeral to remember and try to make sense of his death.

"You who were so talented and so generous paid with your life for the folly of men," read the message pinned to one of the baskets of flowers for Limoges.

The 36-year-old man was on his way to work Tuesday at St. Luc Hospital in downtown Montreal when police opened fire across the street on Mario Hamel, a man with mental health issues who was using a knife to rip open garbage bags.

A surveillance video shows Hamel charged police twice with the weapon before being shot, reports the French-language newspaper Le Journal de Montreal. Limoges was struck in the neck by what appears to have been a richocet.

Inside the funeral home, elderly relatives huddled and spoke quietly as Limoges’ parents and siblings greeted friends and co-workers who came to pay their respects.

Limoges boss in the buildings and services department at the hospital asked journalists to allow the 25 co-workers who came from Montreal private time to grieve.

"Today we are here to say goodbye to Pat," said the man, who spoke on condition his name not be used. Limoges, who had worked at the hospital for three years, was well liked and his death will be a big loss. "We are very fragile and emotional."

But in a hand-written letter on behalf of his team, he questioned the way police had handled the fracas with Hamel which ended with two deaths.

Unarmed security guards at the hospital are often called to deal with people who are agitated and dangerous, he said. "With a pair of gloves and a little talking, they are able to bring them under control." Why, he wondered, could police not do the same?

Pierre Lamothe, who works with Limoges’ brother Mathieu, called the incident "tragic and deplorable."

"Maybe lessons will be learned to prevent something like this happening again," he added.
"It’s a horrible accident," said Jacqueline Alarie Limoges, whose husband Francois is a distant cousin. "We have to wait for results of the inquiry to know what to say. It wasn’t negligence on anyone’s part. Don’t try to put the blame on anyone."

But Martin Massicotte, another cousin, was less forgiving. Massicotte said he had been beaten by police in Trois-Rivieres a week ago and spent several hours in hospital.

"They get high on power," said Massicotte. "They are too quick to pull the trigger."

Hamel’s funeral was held Saturday in Montreal. His ex-wife and four young children were among a dozen or so mourners.

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