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The Dark North

Dec 2, 2019

It was summer vacation, and a group of boys was playing in front of the Saint-Nom-de-Jésus school in Montreal's east-end neighbourhood of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

At 12:40 p.m. on Aug. 9, 1995, a man got into his Jeep parked across the tree-lined street from the school.

A powerful explosion sent the Jeep flying into the air. The blast was so violent it shattered nearby windows. Pieces of metal flew everywhere.

One of the pieces of metal struck one of the boys playing on the street, 11-year-old Daniel Desrochers. Desrochers, who was supposed to start Grade 6 in a few days, was hit in the head and died four days later in a hospital.

The bombing was tied to the biker war that had rocked Montreal for the previous year. Police said Desrochers was the first innocent victim of that war.

The Hells Angels, under the leadership of Maurice (Mom) Boucher, had taken on a group of criminal gangs called the Alliance. Boucher wanted total control of drug-trafficking turfs in Montreal.