Canada’s Quebec City Mosque Shooting Suspect Charged With Murdering 6 People
QUEBEC CITY/TORONTO: A French-Canadian university student was the sole suspect in a shooting at a Quebec City mosque and was charged with the premeditated murder of six people, Canadian authorities said on Monday, in what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called “a terrorist attack.”
Court documents identified the gunman in the attack on Sunday evening prayers as Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, and charged him with six murder counts and five counts of attempted murder with a restricted weapon. The slightly-built Bissonnette made a brief appearance in court under tight security wearing a white prison garment and looking downcast.
Prosecutors said all of the evidence was not yet ready and Bissonnette was set to appear again on Feb. 21. No charge was read in court and Bissonnette did not enter a plea.
“The charges laid correspond to the evidence available,” said Thomas Jacques, a representative of the prosecutor’s office, when asked why Bissonnette was not charged with terrorism-related offences.
Among the six men killed were a butcher, a university professor, a pharmacist and an accountant, according to police and Canadian media.
The government of Guinea said in a statement that two of its citizens were among those killed in the mosque attack.
Police declined to discuss possible motives for the shooting at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec.
“They consider this a lone wolf situation,” a Canadian source familiar with the situation said.
In Washington, U.S. government security experts were leaning to the view that the gunman most likely was motivated by hatred for Muslims, a U.S. government source familiar with official reporting said.
Trudeau, who has made a point of welcoming refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, told parliament in Ottawa: “Make no mistake, this was a terrorist attack.”
He added a personal message to Canada’s 1 million Muslims:
“Know that we value you. You enrich our shared country in immeasurable ways. It is your home. Last night’s horrible crime against the Muslim community was an act of terror committed against Canada and against all Canadians. We will grieve with you. We will defend you. We will love you. And we will stand with you.”
Somber parliamentarians observed a moment of silence.
The attack was out of character for Quebec City, a city of just over 500,000 which reported just two murders in all of
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