‘Ottawa’ Lee Germain, 32, Remembered as ‘Great Family Man’ Who Struggled with Inner Demons
Lee Germain, 32, was remembered Monday as a man who cared deeply about his family, even as he struggled with his inner demons.
Germain, who died Saturday in a shooting in Centretown, is survived by a young daughter, Chloe, and his partner, Maddison Kuhn.
As family and friends mourned his loss on Monday, police continued to look for Steven Micheal Frenette, 33, after obtaining a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest. Frenette was charged Saturday with first-degree murder in Germain’s death.
According to court records, Frenette was convicted on two separate drug possession charges in 2014, several charges of failing to comply with bail or other conditions, and one of failing to appear in court.
He faced 21 drugs and weapons charges for an incident in 2010 but all 21 were withdrawn. These included drug possession, possession for the purpose of trafficking, careless storage or use of a firearm or ammunition, possession of a dangerous weapon, and unauthorized possession of a firearm.
Frenette was also convicted in two robberies in 2007 and one robbery in 2004.
Carol Throop, a friend of Kuhn, started a fundraising initiative “to help Maddy and Chloe get through this holiday season without Lee.”
“I wanted to do this because Maddison is a friend of mine … and I know that she would do the same for anybody else that is going through this situation,” Throop said Monday.
“She and Chloe are alone without daddy. It’s a rough, rough time and this will help contribute to their Christmas and the funeral costs.”
Family and friends used the fundraising page to express their condolences.
“My heart breaks for you, Maddison. I am so, so sorry for this tragic loss,” wrote Cheryl Laite, a veterinarian and colleague of Kuhn.
In an interview, Laite described Germain as a “very kind” person. “He had a really strong bond with Maddy. They took care of each other.
“My heart is really broken for her and Chloe,” Laite said. “Chloe is a sweet little girl.”
Laite said this kind of news is devastating at any time of the year, but it’s especially difficult days before Christmas.
“We’ll all be there for her, for sure. We all love her very much.” Laite said.
Germain had been doing snowplowing for a reputable company in Ottawa for about three weeks in November. But before the month was over, Germain said in a Facebook post dated Nov. 26, that he would be at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre for “a month or two.”
Kurt Vickers, who met Germain at the Royal, said he last saw him on Dec. 6 when he checked out of the centre.
Vickers said he met Chloe and Maddison, who was “very supportive” of Germain, when they came to visit him at the Royal.
“He was struggling with something very difficult. He was really, really sick the first couple of days, but I saw him bounce back,” Vickers said. “He was a really cool guy, a nice guy.”
Vickers, who has a seven-year-old son, said the two men bonded over their kids.
“Pretty much the majority of what he spoke about … was his daughter and how much he wanted to get well for her.”
Vickers, who was seeking treatment for alcohol addiction, would not say what Germain was seeking treatment for because he wanted to respect his privacy. He did, however, agree to speak about it in broad terms because of the stigma around mental illness and addiction.
“He was trying to get help. He was doing the thing that you’re supposed to do,” Vickers said. “As a father he was trying his best.”
“I was lucky to meet him … This just hardens my resolve.”
Chris Percy, a friend of Germain, said the last time he spoke with him was last Thursday.
Percy said the two had known each other since 2009 when they were both “doing drugs.”
“It’s not a complete shock,” said Percy. “He had a bad temper, but that’s not to say he didn’t have a good heart. He was a great man, a great family man.
“He knew he had demons … but all he cared about was his family,” Percy said. “For me, that’s what saddens me the most.”
Germain, who grew up in Quebec and spoke French, did have some run-ins with the law and a history of convictions from 2007 to 2015, according to court records. They include a robbery in 2007, theft under $5,000, possession of stolen property under $5,000, forgery, uttering a forged document and mischief under $5,000.
Police describe Frenette as armed and dangerous, and asked anyone with information on his whereabouts to call 911.
“I hope they catch the guy,” Percy said.
With files from Tom Spears