1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Quebec suspect charged with six murders

January 30, 2017

A French-Canadian student has been charged with six counts of murder following Sunday's attack on a mosque in Quebec City. Only one person is believed to be responsible - not two, as was initially believed.

Kanade Quebec City Schießerei im Moschee
Image: Reuters/M. Belanger

Vigil for the victims of Quebec mosque attack

Canadian police have charged a political science student with six counts of premeditated murder and five counts of attempted murder, following the shooting on Sunday.

Court documents identified the gunmen as Alexandre Bissonnette. 

The shooting at a Muslim cultural center in Quebec left six people dead and 17 injured, five of them severely. The attacker opened fire in the men's section of the mosque during the evening prayer on Sunday night. 

Earlier on Monday, police released one of the two people arrested immediately in the aftermath of the attack saying the second individual was considered a witness. 

The Quebec Royal Canadian Mounted Police tweeted that "only 1 of the 2 men arrested yesterday at night is considered as a suspect".

"They consider this a lone wolf situation," a source familiar with the investigation told news agency Reuters. 

Police have not yet given a motive for the attack, though Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has labeled the shooting as a "terror attack".

Quebec, the capital of the French-speaking Canadian state of the same name, is not known for violent crime. In 2015, the city of 500,000 counted only two murders. But Canada - in particular its French speaking region - has recently experienced a string of anti-Muslim hate crimes.  Last year, a pig's head was left on the doorstep of the same mosque where Sunday's shooting took place.

'Canadians will not be intimidated'

Leaders in Canada and around the world condemned the attacks and expressed their condolences

In a speech in front of the House of Commons, Justin Trudeau said: "Last night's horrible crime against the Muslim community was an act of terror committed against Canada and against all Canadians."

He told the one million Canadians who are Muslim that "we will grieve with you, we will defend you, we will love you, and we will stand with you, and over the coming days take solace in one another."

"Canadians will not be intimidated," Trudeau added. "We will not meet violence with more violence. We will meet fear and hatred with love and compassion."

Kanada - Papst trifft Erzbischhof Gerald LaCroix in Quebec
Pope Francis conveyed his condolences to the archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Gerald LaCroixImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano

Pope Francis called for mutual respect among people of different faiths. He conveyed his condolences to the archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Gerald LaCroix, who was in Rome on Monday, but returned immediately to Canada.

Francis said that he was praying for those victims of the attack and that "[the] Holy Father firmly condemns the violence that engenders such suffering, and begs the Lord for the gift of mutual respect and peace."

'Inhumane and criminal'

A spokesman for German chancellor Angela Merkel called the attacks "despicable". Steffen Seibert said on Monday: "If the killers intended to set people of different faiths against each other or to divide them, they must not and will not succeed in that. We stand in mourning beside the Muslim community in Quebec."

The Iranian government called the shooting "inhumane and criminal". Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Ghasemi said that the attacks showed that "terrorism is not confined to one region or a few countries."

In the Netherlands, four of the largest mosques remained closed out of fear of possible terror attacks.

French President Francois Hollande, whose own country had suffered a string of terrorist attacks in recent years, said that "France stands at the sides of the victims and their families".

In Paris, the the lights on the Eiffel Tower were turned off on Monday at midnight to honor the victims of the attack.

Us President Donald Trump - whose ban on natives of seven majority-Muslim countries entering the United States had recently garnered much criticism, including from Canada's premier - called Trudeau with condolences and "offered to provide any assistance as needed", according to a Trudeau spokesperson.

The Day with Brent Goff: Google Turns 25

mb/rc (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh ride a truck on their way to Kornidzor in Syunik region, Armenia, as thousands flee the region after Baku took control last week
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage