It's a cruel truth that the name of the nutbar in the home-made ninja suit who shot Denis Blanchette to death at the Parti Quebecois victory rally Tuesday night likely will be remembered longer than his victim, except of course by Blanchette's heartbroken friends.
The 48-year-old lighting technician was working the event at Montreal's Metropolis theatre when fate put him in the path of alleged killer Richard Bain.
Bain, who ran a rural Quebec fishing-tourism operation, crashed the PQ's triumphal party. He allegedly opened fire when Blanchette tried to stop the armed man from entering the hall.
Blanchette, father of a three-year-old daughter, was killed and colleague Dave Courage was wounded by bullets from an assault rifle. The shooter than retreated and tossed a Molotov cocktail, setting a small fire at the theatre's entrance.
CTV News reported.Bain, 62, appeared in court Thursday and now faces 16 charges, including murder and three counts of attempted murder, as well as gun and explosives charges,
Hundreds of people turned out for a vigil at the scene of the shooting Wednesday night to remember Blanchette.
Colleague Marie-Jo, who wouldn't give her last name, said Blanchette filled in for her on election day when she went to vote and to pick up her daughter, The Canadian Press reported.
Bain, dressed in a dark outfit, balaclava and blue bathrobe, reportedly yelled in French as he was arrested that anglophones were waking up. But Marie-Jo angrily dismissed any political overtones to the shooting of her friend.
"There was nothing political about this," she said. "A damned mental case killed my friend. He gave his life for $15 an hour."
She and Blanchette worked at Productions du Grand Bambou, a close-knit group of technicians who sometimes spent up to 90 hours a week together.
"We're a family," she said. "Today, we've lost a member of our family."
Vigil organizer George Stamatis, who did not know Blanchette, also tried to put aside any political connection to the attack.
"We are here today, united as a family, crying for what we love — Quebec," he said, according to CBC News. "We are crying here today because this act does not represent any of our values …This act does not represent democracy. This act does not represent who we are as Québécois."
The attack still shivered through Quebec's body politic and commentators sought quickly to disavow it.
"Disturbing as it was to hear the issue of language invoked amid such a terrible scene, it has been heartening to see the outpouring of commentary from Quebecers — francophones, anglophones and allophones — acknowledging that this was the raving of a twisted person, representative of no one other than his deluded self," the Montreal Gazette said in an editorial Thursday.
The Gazette noted a blog post by La Presse columnist Stéphane Laporte, who wrote: "Francophones and anglophones, we all speak the same language: That of silence. That of a sad heart. That of a heart in mourning" for an innocent life senselessly and violently taken away."
PQ premier-designate Pauline Marois, whose pledge to toughen language laws may have put her in the attacker's sights Tuesday night, put it eloquently: "Quebec is not a violent society and one act of violence cannot change that."