Sixth murder of the year in Montreal | Jean-Philippe Célestin’s brother murdered after engagement

Gang leader Jean-Philippe Célestin’s brother, Brandon Jean Célestin, was riddled with bullets last night after attending an engagement party at a reception hall, it has been learned The Press. His brother was present at the family event and investigators will likely have to study the hypothesis that it was him who was targeted.

“According to witnesses, the suspect(s) were in a vehicle and they opened fire towards the victim who was walking on the sidewalk. It collapsed in a parking lot located at the corner of Bellechasse and Saint-Denis streets. Called to the scene, police found a man injured in the upper body. They performed resuscitation maneuvers, in vain, and the death was noted on the spot,” explains officer Véronique Dubuc, spokesperson for the Montreal City Police Service (SPVM).

Around twenty shots were reportedly fired by the suspect(s) who fled before the police arrived. It wasn’t about Brandon Jean Célestin’s engagement.

The investigation was entrusted to SPVM Major Crimes investigators whose first tasks will include meeting witnesses and viewing images captured by surveillance cameras in the area.

Trusted man of his brother

Brandon Jean Célestin, 29, had, before the courts, an active case of threats, assault and obstruction dating from 2022.

But according to police information, Brandon Jean Célestin managed drug trafficking in the city center on behalf of his brother.


Brandon Jean Célestin, far right, during the viewing of Gregory Woolley’s remains at the Loreto Funeral Complex, owned by the Rizzuto family, last fall.

According to the police, Jean-Philippe Célestin was one of the right-hand men of Gregory Woolley, this influential gang leader murdered in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu last November.

Célestin and his group were also strongly represented at Woolley’s funeral last fall.

The police consider Célestin to be a gang leader in the pay of the Sicilian clan of the Montreal mafia and their associates.

One of Célestin’s deputies, Nitchell Lapaix, was murdered in August 2021 and following this assassination, members of Célestin’s group were notified by police that their lives could be in danger.

Still according to the police, Jean-Philippe Célestin controls drug trafficking in certain sectors of Montreal, notably the gay village and the entertainment district.

He was also allegedly involved, at one time at least, in the delivery of drones to prisons.

In December 2017, Jean-Philippe Célestin was sentenced to 69 months of imprisonment – ​​he had 21 months left to serve – after being arrested in an SPVM investigation aimed at dismantling a network of drug traffickers who operated in the center city ​​of Montreal.

Célestin is connected to blue street gangs and in the early 2000s, he was part of a gang called the K-Crew.

“We are probably attacking Gregory Woolley’s organization. There will be others. It’s not the end, it’s a beginning,” analyzed, on condition of anonymity, an observer specializing in Montreal organized crime.

The environment in reorganization

Last December, the residence of Jean-Philippe Célestin was searched as part of the major investigation led by the SPVM and the SQ into the revelations of former organized crime hitman Frédérick Silva.

These revelations could allow police to solve 65 murders and attempted murders committed since the mid-1990s.

At least two individuals targeted by this major investigation have been shot and killed in recent months, Gregory Woolley and Samy Tamouro, murdered in a fitness center in Mexico in mid-December.


Gregory Woolley, in 2013

These murders are not necessarily linked to the current investigation, but since the beginning of it, a reorganization seems to be taking place in the world of Montreal organized crime.

The murder of Brandon Jean Célestin is already the sixth of the year in Montreal – the fourth by gunshot – while there was only one homicide on the same date in the metropolis last year.

To contact Daniel Renaud, call 514 285-7000, ext. 4918, write to [email protected] or write to the postal address of The Press.

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