Surveillance camera captured key moment in Dix30 shooter's getaway
Cameras are everywhere now, even in the crescent of a dead-end street in Brossard where a killer likely assumed he'd find some privacy.
The jury hearing the trial of Joshua Sarroino, 29, at the Montreal courthouse was shown a video Thursday that captured a key moment when a gunman who shot Éric Francis De Souza, 24, at Sofia restaurant in the Dix30 shopping complex fled the scene.
De Souza was shot in the back of the head while he was dining with several friends who were celebrating a birthday on May 10, 2019.
According to the Crown's theory of the case, Sarroino was the shooter and he is believed to have driven away from the restaurant in a white Ford Focus and set it on fire on des Prairies Rd. before switching to a black car that sped away. The switch is a key part of the homicide investigation because Sarroino was later seen driving a car similar to the black one when he became a suspect in De Souza's murder and was placed under police surveillance.
Sarroino became a suspect when his DNA was found on a silver revolver left next to a table that was part of the outdoor terrasse of another Dix30 restaurant. The revolver still had five bullets loaded in it as well as an empty shell casing that matched the bullet that killed De Souza.
Part of the switch, made at around 10:30 p.m., was captured on video by a camera that businessman Sylvain Marquis had installed outside his former home to record any suspicious activity. The camera was attached to a tree and was pointed toward the crescent.
While testifying on Thursday, Marquis said the camera was activated by a motion sensor and that while he slept it recorded images of the white Ford Focus being engulfed in flames as a black car drove by it and around the crescent in front of his former home.
When he was cross-examined by defence lawyer Danièle Roy, Marquis said the motion sensor was sometimes so sensitive the camera would record falling leaves. But on the night of the murder, the camera did not start recording until the Ford Focus was on fire. It did not capture images of anyone setting the fire.
“We bought a residential camera and it's not a (camera for businesses) so it wasn't very precise,” Marquis said. “Unfortunately, it did not record when (the Ford Focus) arrived on the street.”
While answering questions from prosecutor Tian Meng, Marquis said he was awakened that night by the sound of a car honking.
“I was sleeping, the horn woke me up and my son came to see me,” Marquis said. “When I looked outside my son's bedroom window, I could see the car was near my mailbox. There seemed to be onlookers that were curious (looking at the burning car).
“It all seemed to happen so quickly.”
Marquis said he noticed the camera had recorded something before the Longueuil police arrived. He also heard the sound of the white car's tires exploding from the heat.
While answering other questions from Roy, Marquis confirmed that he initially believed the black car that drove away was a Porsche Panamera. He said he owned several Porsches in the past and felt he was familiar with the model. But, he added, the police officers who took his statement did not seem to agree with him as they watched the video together.