'I was shocked'

Rosie
Rosie Mullaley
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Montreal man says he doesn't know why police shot at him

Menad Abella said he was scared to death when the RCMP starting firing at his truck in a St. John's parking lot Monday.

"I didn't know what was going on," the Montreal man said Thursday outside provincial court, minutes after he was released from jail.

Menad Abella said he was scared to death when the RCMP starting firing at his truck in a St. John's parking lot Monday.

"I didn't know what was going on," the Montreal man said Thursday outside provincial court, minutes after he was released from jail.

"I was shocked."

Abella was arrested the day after the gunfire incident, which happened in the Canadian Tire parking lot on Elizabeth Avenue Monday at about 5:20 p.m.

He was picked up in Port aux Basques Tuesday by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and flown to St. John's to appear in provincial court to face charges of dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and breaching a 2009 probation order to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

On Wednesday, he was released on a recognizance after posting a $2,000 deposit and promising to call the RNC once a week.

Abella was signing his release papers at provincial court when The Telegram caught up with him.

"Sure, I don't mind talking at all," he said when asked for an interview. "I've got nothing to hide."

According to the 25-year-old, he and a friend travelled from Montreal to St. John's to buy a pickup truck, because selection and prices are better here.

He said at around 5 or 5:30 p.m., they parked in the Canadian Tire parking lot with the intention of walking across the street to get Chinese food.

"My car was parked, and then - out of nowhere - two or three cars pulled up and try to block (my car) in," the Algerian native said in halting English. "I had no idea who they were or what they wanted, but I got pretty scared. Then they started shooting at me, not at my tires. ... Not one or two or three bullets - it was eight or 10 bullets. I thought, what the heck? Maybe they were looking for somebody else.

"I was lucky because I was driving a big truck."

He said he panicked and stepped on the gas to try to get away, but ended up ramming his truck into a van. That van was driven by the RCMP, although he said he didn't know that at the time.

"I didn't know they were cops," he said, throwing his hands in the air.

"There were no markings (on the cars), there were no lights and they didn't scream 'Cops!' or anything like that."

Police said plainclothes RCMP officers were trying to arrest suspects in connection with an ongoing drug investigation and, after an altercation, a Mountie fired his 9-mm, standard-issue Smith and Wesson pistol several times.

There were no injuries.

Abella denies there was an altercation and said he doesn't know anything about drugs.

"I've got nothing to do with drugs," said Abella, adding his probation order was for a fighting incident a few years ago in Montreal. "I never did drugs in my life."

He said he wondered why he was being shot at, but didn't waste time hanging around to find out.

He sped away, driving all the way to Port aux Basques. Abella said police arrested him while he was on the ferry.

"The ferry would have been gone, had it not been for poor weather," he said.

He said police questioned his friend, who was in the passenger seat, but let him go.

Police had been looking for two trucks driven by the suspects, but Abella said he knows nothing about a second truck.

The RCMP said it is investigating and may lay charges at a later date.

While the police didn't find any drugs on Abella, he said they did seize $7,000, which he claimed was money he had to buy a new truck. He hopes the police will give it back to him.

His first step, though, was to get his personal belongings at the St. John's lockup. As he ran across Water Street in the pouring rain, he said he hoped to get a good lawyer to help him fight the charges.

Within the next few days he will be going back to Montreal, he said, where he's lived since 1997 after moving from Algeria.

He said he has Canadian citizenship and his parents live in Montreal.

While living in Algeria, he said he was a professional soccer player - a goalkeeper in a first-division league.

In Montreal, he said he's working on becoming a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.

Abella will be back in court in St. John's Feb. 18, but said people here should not be afraid of him.

"People here don't have to worry," he said. "I'm a good person. I'm a good guy."

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

Organizations: RCMP, Canadian Tire, Smith and Wesson

Geographic location: Montreal, St. John's, Port aux Basques Elizabeth Avenue Algeria Water Street

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Recent comments

  • cliff
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Abella's fairytale doesn't make sense, the police do not show just show up and start shooting for no reason...... $7,000 cash to buy a new truck... Abella was on his way to make a drug deal.

  • G
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Yeah! I know the police are famous for shooting first and asking questions later. I have a question about these pistols the RCMP use. Are they automatic handguns. Do they hold so many rounds that the officer doesen't register how many shots he fired?
    I think the suspect acted like a sane man anyhow.
    No one wants to stand up to a rain of bullets.
    Running from a gun could be dangerous too.
    Like the old guy said. You pays your money and takes your chances.

  • Just say yes
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    GAR, whats the deal with people carrying around cash? Do not fishermen get paid in cash anymore? I can recall a time when I walked around with $22,000 in cash in my back pack? Too many people forget that banks and government tend to service charge everyone to death. It also makes buying a car, truck boat or what have you far easier if you whip out the cash on the spot when you offer it then to say, um ya I gotsta go to da bank. Will you hold it till I get back? Would you hold onto your car, truck or whatever if then someone else came along with cash in hand while you waited for the other person to maybe or maybe not come back? I doubt it. Unemployment is far too high in this province to turn down cash in hand and everyone knows it. I bought a car that was listed for $15,000, for $5,000 cash last week. Guess I am a drug dealer too then because I was smart and know just how desperate people are in this province.

    Either way carrying cash in Canada is not a crime yet. Shooting like Dirty Harry in a public parking lot sure should be though.

  • Taxpayer lV
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    One of the things I was cuious about is if there was video coverage of the parking lot? It is not uncommon these days to have cameras on these lots, would be interesting to know.

  • NLGirl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    This guys story just doesn't seem to add up right. 8 or 10 gunshots... witnesses all even say there was only 5. So what's he lying about there? If he wasn't into drugs or something criminal why run to Port-Aux-Basques? Why not just contact the police? I lived in Ontario... no one comes to Newfoundland to buy a vehicle. They are better priced on the Mainland!!!!! If they did, why not just buy the vehicle in Corner Brook or Grand Falls?? Why drive all the way to St.John's.
    There has to be a reason for the RCMP to just start firing. There could be anything. Why would this guy want to buy a truck when he was already driving a brand new one?

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    The gas peddle stuck. These trucks are part of the recall after all. Prove it did not stick.

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    I wonder if the next episode involving gun violence will be visited upon our city by a criminal, or can we look forward to law enforcement creating the fears we all have been told to expect all on their own? The more I read about this incident, the more I curse the involved officers. Someone could have died by their hand, and 'oops' just doesn't cut it. I'm all for protecting the public, but it looks like we need better protection from our protectors. I was thinking about buying a truck too, NOT NOW!, lol

  • Learn To SHOP
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Prices and selection of vehicles better in NL?

    HAHAHAHAHAHA.

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Mike: When criminals START shooting up the city like they do in Halifax - and I remind you they DO NOT here - I'm sure I won't mind. The point is, criminals do not do this here as of yet and this latest incident, no doubt, has many of the criminal element considering these events. Maybe the criminal shooting will be retaliation to expected law enforcement gunfire. This guy's story has obvious holes, but the law's version of events is lacking the detail needed to reassure the public. More questions than ever surround this and I'll say it again - those officers are very lucky they didn't kill somebody.

  • speedy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Now this is a story that seems to be a made in Newfoundland and Labrador fairy tale, can you believe it?

  • Andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    There's obviously something fishy going on here. But CLEARLY the police where in the wrong and they're trying hard to make it not look like that. Cops here in NL are getting pathetic, pretending they own the island like it's their own little prison.

    They should never be allowed to wear a badge again. I would like to return to the days when police were here to Serve and Protect' not 'Shoot and arrest'.

  • Sounding
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Sure it wasn't a seal pie hitting your truck dude? This is a classic!

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    AHHHH.....he's never done drugs in his life! He came to Nl from Montreal to buy a TRUCK???? Geez, most Nlders go TO the mainland to buy vehicles because they are cheaper!! Does he know something the rest of us don't???

    He's like many in prison for life.....I'm innocent, I didn't do nothing!!!!

    And maybe Bones II will be satisfied when the criminals start shooting up the city they way they are in Halifax.

  • Notta chance
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    'I was shocked'*************
    According to the 25-year-old, he and a friend travelled from Montreal to St. John's to buy a pickup truck, because selection and prices are better here..........................So what give with everybody from the island going to the mainland to buy cars?????? Does cheaper there have anything to do with that I wonder??*****************it was eight or 10 bullets......................If the RCMP 'wanted' to take this fella out he would not be 'talking' today......This is not his first nor his last run in with law.....and YES he knows very well about drugs!!

  • GAR
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    The police seized $7,000.00 from this guy ? Who goes around with $7,000.00 cash looking to buy a vehicle ? Hasn't he heard of chequebooks or credit cards ? Whether he's a drug dealer or not though, the cop(s) responsible for the gunfire mabe a big mistake because innocent people could have been hurt or killed.

  • Chad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I bet Jake Doyle could figure it out! He'd end up sleeping with some hot chick during the investigation too!

  • Donny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    His version of the story is full of holes like the back of his pickup truck. If I was in Montreal and was just showered with bullets I think I would have called the local police force at the first opportunity!
    Selection and prices are better here than Montreal? ha ha ha...good one!

  • Ed
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Should I wear a bullet proof vest the next time I visit your fair city?were the cops mainlanders or Newfoundlanders?

  • nathan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Yo, Andrew,my man......you should be working as a policeman!

    What's that? Oh sorry...you gotta go watch CSI, Law & Order, Miami Vice.... I can get you a good price on sunglasses like H wears....then YOU'D really be a cop!!!!

    PS When YOU need the police, Andrew, find someone else to call since you clearly don't like or appreciate the tough job they have to do. It ain't like the hour long tv show that you gotta be watching
    Haul yer head out of the tv screen!!

    BTW got a few vehicles for sale.....real cheap.....best prices in Canada!!!!! And I ONLY take cash!!!!!

  • cliff
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Abella's fairytale doesn't make sense, the police do not show just show up and start shooting for no reason...... $7,000 cash to buy a new truck... Abella was on his way to make a drug deal.

  • G
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Yeah! I know the police are famous for shooting first and asking questions later. I have a question about these pistols the RCMP use. Are they automatic handguns. Do they hold so many rounds that the officer doesen't register how many shots he fired?
    I think the suspect acted like a sane man anyhow.
    No one wants to stand up to a rain of bullets.
    Running from a gun could be dangerous too.
    Like the old guy said. You pays your money and takes your chances.

  • Just say yes
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    GAR, whats the deal with people carrying around cash? Do not fishermen get paid in cash anymore? I can recall a time when I walked around with $22,000 in cash in my back pack? Too many people forget that banks and government tend to service charge everyone to death. It also makes buying a car, truck boat or what have you far easier if you whip out the cash on the spot when you offer it then to say, um ya I gotsta go to da bank. Will you hold it till I get back? Would you hold onto your car, truck or whatever if then someone else came along with cash in hand while you waited for the other person to maybe or maybe not come back? I doubt it. Unemployment is far too high in this province to turn down cash in hand and everyone knows it. I bought a car that was listed for $15,000, for $5,000 cash last week. Guess I am a drug dealer too then because I was smart and know just how desperate people are in this province.

    Either way carrying cash in Canada is not a crime yet. Shooting like Dirty Harry in a public parking lot sure should be though.

  • Taxpayer lV
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    One of the things I was cuious about is if there was video coverage of the parking lot? It is not uncommon these days to have cameras on these lots, would be interesting to know.

  • NLGirl
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    This guys story just doesn't seem to add up right. 8 or 10 gunshots... witnesses all even say there was only 5. So what's he lying about there? If he wasn't into drugs or something criminal why run to Port-Aux-Basques? Why not just contact the police? I lived in Ontario... no one comes to Newfoundland to buy a vehicle. They are better priced on the Mainland!!!!! If they did, why not just buy the vehicle in Corner Brook or Grand Falls?? Why drive all the way to St.John's.
    There has to be a reason for the RCMP to just start firing. There could be anything. Why would this guy want to buy a truck when he was already driving a brand new one?

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    The gas peddle stuck. These trucks are part of the recall after all. Prove it did not stick.

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    I wonder if the next episode involving gun violence will be visited upon our city by a criminal, or can we look forward to law enforcement creating the fears we all have been told to expect all on their own? The more I read about this incident, the more I curse the involved officers. Someone could have died by their hand, and 'oops' just doesn't cut it. I'm all for protecting the public, but it looks like we need better protection from our protectors. I was thinking about buying a truck too, NOT NOW!, lol

  • Learn To SHOP
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Prices and selection of vehicles better in NL?

    HAHAHAHAHAHA.

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Mike: When criminals START shooting up the city like they do in Halifax - and I remind you they DO NOT here - I'm sure I won't mind. The point is, criminals do not do this here as of yet and this latest incident, no doubt, has many of the criminal element considering these events. Maybe the criminal shooting will be retaliation to expected law enforcement gunfire. This guy's story has obvious holes, but the law's version of events is lacking the detail needed to reassure the public. More questions than ever surround this and I'll say it again - those officers are very lucky they didn't kill somebody.

  • speedy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Now this is a story that seems to be a made in Newfoundland and Labrador fairy tale, can you believe it?

  • Andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    There's obviously something fishy going on here. But CLEARLY the police where in the wrong and they're trying hard to make it not look like that. Cops here in NL are getting pathetic, pretending they own the island like it's their own little prison.

    They should never be allowed to wear a badge again. I would like to return to the days when police were here to Serve and Protect' not 'Shoot and arrest'.

  • Sounding
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Sure it wasn't a seal pie hitting your truck dude? This is a classic!

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    AHHHH.....he's never done drugs in his life! He came to Nl from Montreal to buy a TRUCK???? Geez, most Nlders go TO the mainland to buy vehicles because they are cheaper!! Does he know something the rest of us don't???

    He's like many in prison for life.....I'm innocent, I didn't do nothing!!!!

    And maybe Bones II will be satisfied when the criminals start shooting up the city they way they are in Halifax.

  • Notta chance
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    'I was shocked'*************
    According to the 25-year-old, he and a friend travelled from Montreal to St. John's to buy a pickup truck, because selection and prices are better here..........................So what give with everybody from the island going to the mainland to buy cars?????? Does cheaper there have anything to do with that I wonder??*****************it was eight or 10 bullets......................If the RCMP 'wanted' to take this fella out he would not be 'talking' today......This is not his first nor his last run in with law.....and YES he knows very well about drugs!!

  • GAR
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    The police seized $7,000.00 from this guy ? Who goes around with $7,000.00 cash looking to buy a vehicle ? Hasn't he heard of chequebooks or credit cards ? Whether he's a drug dealer or not though, the cop(s) responsible for the gunfire mabe a big mistake because innocent people could have been hurt or killed.

  • Chad
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    I bet Jake Doyle could figure it out! He'd end up sleeping with some hot chick during the investigation too!

  • Donny
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    His version of the story is full of holes like the back of his pickup truck. If I was in Montreal and was just showered with bullets I think I would have called the local police force at the first opportunity!
    Selection and prices are better here than Montreal? ha ha ha...good one!

  • Ed
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Should I wear a bullet proof vest the next time I visit your fair city?were the cops mainlanders or Newfoundlanders?

  • nathan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Yo, Andrew,my man......you should be working as a policeman!

    What's that? Oh sorry...you gotta go watch CSI, Law & Order, Miami Vice.... I can get you a good price on sunglasses like H wears....then YOU'D really be a cop!!!!

    PS When YOU need the police, Andrew, find someone else to call since you clearly don't like or appreciate the tough job they have to do. It ain't like the hour long tv show that you gotta be watching
    Haul yer head out of the tv screen!!

    BTW got a few vehicles for sale.....real cheap.....best prices in Canada!!!!! And I ONLY take cash!!!!!