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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haitian detectives are investigating the killing of a Canadian priest who was shot to death Thursday as he left a bank in the Caribbean nation's capital, authorities said.
Police inspector Aladin Jean-Louis said that 62-year-old Richard E. Joyal had just withdrawn $1,000 from a bank at about 10:30 a.m. when two men on a motorcycle approached and grabbed a bag he was carrying. The passenger shot him three times in the back.
Authorities later found the $1,000 in Joyal's wallet and confiscated the money. The contents of Joyal's billfold included a driver's license showing he was from Quebec. Another identification card showed he was a priest who worked as an administrator for a Canadian congregation called the "societe de marie" in the Delmas district of Port-au-Prince.
Police investigating the shooting in Delmas redirected traffic on one of the busiest thoroughfares in the capital.
The United States in December sharpened its travel warning to Haiti, citing kidnappings and other crime, cholera and a tattered infrastructure. Canada followed with a similar advisory.
The revised warnings irritated Haitian officials who countered that crime rates in Haiti are much lower than what many perceive them to be.
Though Haiti has a police force with only 10,000 officers for a country with 10 million people, murder rates are lower here than in other countries in the hemisphere.
Still, Haiti has seen a steady increase in the number of reported homicides since 2010, according to police reports given to the United Nations' police division.
In 2010, the agency received reports of 680 homicides, a number that jumped to 908 the next year. Last year, there were 1,061 reported homicides.