They also had little regard for the innocent. At least one of the dead and several of the wounded were described by police as bystanders or victims of mistaken identity. "I think this may allow me to close the circle," said Hélène Brunet, a former waitress who was shot in 2000 when a Hells Angels associate used her as a human shield. She became an outspoken critic of gangs. "It's a great relief and it restores some of your faith in justice."Hells loan shark Robert "Bob" Savard died in the attack on Ms. Brunet.
Mr. Gallant's stunning conversion from prolific hit man to police witness began in 2001, when he left his DNA at the scene of one of his final murders. But it wasn't until an RCMP tip, followed by a DNA match in 2006, that police started following him. He got wind police were onto him and fled to Europe in 2006. Months later, Swiss police snagged Mr. Gallant for credit card fraud and sent him back to Canada. In 2008, he suddenly and quietly pleaded guilty to the 2001 murder of Yvon Daigneault, a bar owner in the Laurentian town of Ste-Adèle. The plea was unusual for a man facing a tough automatic sentence of life in prison, with no chance at parole for 25 years. Police made it known Mr. Gallant claimed he had killed 26 people, but they added few details. The whiff of possible exaggeration dissipated rapidly yesterday, as police unveiled the list of 11 people charged with murder, including one-time leaders and members of competing Quebec gangs. Lieutenant François Doré, a senior provincial police spokesman, refused to say if a deal was struck with Mr. Gallant, who is not currently charged with any other crimes. Gang expert and author Julian Sher said some deal may be in the works, but hired killers occasionally seek to settle accounts. "I wouldn't call it conscience, but there is an element of wanting to clear the air, or wanting to get back at past masters," he said.Some arrested suspects, such as Frédéric Faucher, a former leader of the Rock Machine, and Raymond Desfossés, an alleged high-ranking member of the West End Gang, are alleged to have ordered hits. One of the more prominent dead was Paul Cotroni, the son of Montreal mob boss Frank Cotroni, who died in 1998.