06/08/2011 11:45 EDT | Updated 08/08/2011 05:12 EDT

Robert Dutil, Public Safety Minister, Defends Cops After Montreal Police Shooting


THE CANADIAN PRESS -- MONTREAL - Montreal police are not gun-happy, says the Quebec government.

The province's public safety minister is coming to the defence of the police force -- which is now under heavy scrutiny.

The force has been involved in several shooting incidents this year.

In the latest, yesterday, officers opened fire and killed a homeless man who was wielding a knife in downtown Montreal.

They also struck -- and killed -- an innocent bystander. He was a 36-year-old hospital employee on his way to work.

Public Safety Minister Robert Dutil says only 60 police officers -- out of 15,000 across Quebec -- ever fire a weapon on an average year. That's barely one out of 200 officers, he says.

He says he's eagerly awaiting the results of an investigation by the provincial police.

He also says there may be changes to the procedure involving police investigations.

The downtown, daylight shootings have shocked many and angered some Montrealers.

An anti-police protest march is planned tonight.