MONTREAL – Members of a Catholic religious order in the Quebec City area were shocked to hear a colleague had been shot to death in Haiti just one week before he was due to return home.
Richard E. Joyal, a 62-year-old member of the Marianist order, was killed as he left a bank in the capital of Port-au-Prince.
Police said Joyal had just withdrawn $1,000 at about 10:30 a.m. when two men on a motorcycle approached and grabbed a bag he was carrying.
The passenger shot him three times in the back.
Father Marc Turcotte, a Marianist priest, said his colleague was in Haiti to help relocate students after the earthquake of January 2010.
“It’s terrible news, it’s dreadful,” he told The Canadian Press. “I don’t understand.”
The religious congregation is in the process of closing its mission, which first opened in the early 2000s.
“We were trying to find places for a number of young people, seven or eight, where they could continue their studies,” Turcotte said Thursday. “He (Joyal) was there in Haiti to take care of them.”
Father Irenee Breton, another Marianist priest, said the mission was told it should close down its operations.
“He (Joyal) was due to return here May 3,” Breton said.
Authorities later found the $1,000 in Joyal’s wallet and confiscated the money.
The contents of Joyal’s billfold included a driver’s licence showing he was from Quebec. A priest who knew him said he was originally from St. Boniface, Man.
An identification card showed he worked as an administrator for the Canadian congregation in the Delmas district.
Police investigating the shooting in Delmas redirected traffic on one of the busiest thoroughfares in the capital.
Joyal was a religious brother with the Society of Mary, a congregation of priests and brothers known as the Marianists.
There are about 1,200 Marianists in 38 countries.
Canada sharpened its travel advisory to Haiti in December, citing high crime rates in various parts of the country and ongoing political tensions.
— With files from The Associated Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. Some earlier versions had the wrong name for the victim and wrongly said he was a priest and a member of the Marian order.