QUEBEC CITY- A 27-year-old man is facing 11 charges in connection with a deadly shooting at a Quebec City mosque Sunday night.
Alexandre Bissonnette is charged with six counts of first degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.
Six people are dead after the shooting, another 19 were wounded.
Bissonnette is considered the only suspect in the attack.
The horrific shooting occurred inside the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec in Quebec City’s Ste-Foy neighbourhood just before 8 p.m. ET, where a masked gunman entered the building and opened fire, according to witnesses and police.
The victims were identified as men who ranged in age from 35 to 60. Five people remain in hospital, with two of those in critical condition and the three others stable. At least 14 others suffered minor injuries, the University of Quebec Hospital Centre spokeswoman Genevieve Dupuis said Monday at a press conference.
Thirty-nine people escaped the mosque shooting without injuries.
Quebec police say one man was arrested at the scene of the attack and the second person called 911 from his car, saying he was armed but was willing to co-operate with police.
“For the moment, nothing leads us to believe there are other suspects linked to the event, but you’ll understand we’re not taking chances and we’re making necessary verifications to make sure there aren’t any,” police spokesperson Christine Coulombe told The Canadian Press.
Insp. Denis Turcotte of the Quebec City police force said the second suspect stopped his car and said he was waiting for police to arrest him. He was taken into custody near Ile d’Orleans around 9 p.m.
A Terrorist Attack: Trudeau
Police have not released a motive for the shooting but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and officials in Quebec have called it an act of terrorism.
“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge,” Trudeau said in an emotional speech in the House of Commons. “It is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear.
“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country,” he said.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said the shooting should be treated as terror attack.
“It’s a murderous act directed at a specific community,” he told reporters at news conference early Monday morning. “I think the majority of citizens, not just in Quebec but elsewhere, would describe it that way.”
Members of Canada’s Muslim community condemned the attack, with many calling for tighter security around other mosques in the country. The Quebec mosque where the shooting occurred had previously been targeted by hate crimes, including an incident last summer when gift-wrapped pig’s head was placed at the entrance to the building during Ramadan.
“The fact that the attack was on a mosque strongly suggests that this was a hate crime and an act of terrorism. This is the nightmare scenario that Canadian Muslims have been dreading,” Ihsaan Gardee, NCCM’s executive director, said in a statement. “There is already a growing and documented climate of Islamophobia in Canada. There are legitimate fears that Trump’s so-called Muslim ban and accompanying rhetoric will lead to more hate, and further acts of violence like this.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama, one of the largest Muslim communities in Canada, also spoke out against the attack.
“We are deeply saddened by the attack that took place in a mosque in Quebec City and we pray for the rapid recovery of the wounded,” said national president Lal Khan Malik. “We are taking steps to ensure that all members of the community feel secure and safe.”
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