Was attempted murder in the West Island a botched Mafia hit?

In the days before he was shot at, Nicola Valiante told police he found what turned out to be a GPS locator device under his vehicle.

Montreal Gazette

A sentencing hearing is to begin at the Montreal courthouse Thursday in a case involving a shooting in Dollard-des-Ormeaux where the gunman might have selected the wrong target while attempting to kill an alleged leader in the Montreal Mafia.

Andy Duroseau, 30, faces the possibility of being declared either a dangerous or long-term offender after having been found guilty last March of attempting to murder Nicola Valiante, 42, and Valiante’s then-fiancée, who was 36 weeks pregnant at the time.

On Oct. 3, 2014, Duroseau was apparently lying in wait outside the entrance of the parking garage at a Barnett St. condominium building before he jumped down from a seven-foot wall and opened fire as Valiante and his fiancée arrived home in her Chrysler Patriot.

Valiante, who would later be identified by police as having acted as the driver for alleged Mafia leader Andrea (Andrew) Scoppa while both men were under surveillance in a cocaine trafficking investigation, immediately put the sports utility vehicle in reverse as Duroseau used a gun equipped with a silencer to fire off five shots.

No one was injured in the shooting but Valiante’s fiancée began to experience early contractions as the couple sought shelter in a nearby Pharmaprix. When she was asked by police why she thought someone might want to kill her or Valiante, the woman replied she believed the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.

The woman is related to Scoppa and was living in a condo he owned in that building.

Andrea (Andrew) Scoppa. Montreal police

“I mentioned it was maybe because of who I was renting the place from. I was renting to buy from Andrew Scoppa,” the woman said when she testified at Duroseau’s preliminary inquiry in 2015.

In April 2017, a Montreal police investigator testifying in a separate case described Scoppa as “the head of a Mafia clan in Montreal.”

Scoppa was also described as someone who is often at odds with the Rizzuto organization. He was once secretly recorded referring to the group’s decision-makers as “the grappa table” because they apparently drink a lot.

All of the charges brought against Scoppa and Valiante were dropped last year. The prosecution did not provide an explanation in court.

During the 2015 hearing in Duroseau’s case, Montreal police Det. Sgt. Robert Di Matteo testified Valiante’s fiancée remained calm as Valiante sped away form the shooter in reverse. She called 911 and supplied the police with a detailed description of the man who turned out to be Duroseau.

Di Matteo said two police officers who were in the area in an unmarked police car spotted a man fitting the description she supplied as he walked along Barnett St. and headed toward Lake St. He was wearing gloves and a neck warmer even though it was unseasonably warm that evening.

“He debated. He wasn’t co-operating. He was agitated,” Di Matteo said of Duroseau’s arrest, noting he would bang his head against the divider between the front and back seats of the police cruiser that was transporting him.

As part of his testimony, Di Matteo said that about eight days before the shooting, a woman who resided in the same building spotted a man in the parking garage lying on the floor and reaching underneath the Chrysler Patriot.

Valiante was informed of the strange incident and when he brought the Jeep in to a friend’s garage, to see if it had been damaged, a mechanic found what turned out to be a GPS locator device stuck to the bottom of the vehicle.

Valiante testified he didn’t know what the black box was when the mechanic showed it to him. But he immediately thought of the mysterious device when the gunman descended from the seven-foot wall and opened fire.

“Maybe if that (remembering the device) didn’t happen I wouldn’t be here today,” Valiante said.

Di Matteo said the police tracked down the supplier of the GPS device. Investigators learned it was purchased  with cash and was registered under a false name.

In July, Quebec Court Judge Robert Marchi ordered Duroseau undergo a mental health evaluation as part of the Crown’s request that he be declared either a dangerous or long-term offender.

In December, Duroseau was charged with having uttered threats toward at least five people involved in his case. The alleged threats were uttered throughout October 2018, while Duroseau was detained.