Police continue to investigate suspect in Parti Quebecois victory rally shooting

Jesse Michaels
Canada Politics

Quebec Provincial Police have told the CBC that the suspect in the fatal shooting at the Parti Québécois victory rally is not from Montreal, though they do know that he is from elsewhere in the province.

Officers are searching the vehicle of the alleged gunman and are also looking into the possibility that a PQ member received threatening messages prior to the shooting, which left one person dead and sent another to hospital in critical condition. Earlier this morning, police said the second victim has stabilized and is no longer in danger.

The suspect, wearing a blue robe and with his face partially covered by a balaclava, was arrested outside the venue and a rifle was seized. Police confirmed Wednesday morning that two guns had been confiscated after the incident.

The shooting occurred as Pauline Marois was giving her victory speech to supporters, prompting a swift response from the Parti Québécois leader's security team and an evacuation of the concert hall.

[ Related: Parti Quebecois victory party disrupted by gun shots and fire ]

Police would not reveal the identities of the two victims as their families had not yet been notified.

The man shouted in French at TV cameras while being dragged toward the cruiser, "The English are waking up!" Police would only say that he spoke with an accent.

Early Wednesday morning, the Parti Québécois released a statement from Marois, who said her thoughts are with the family and loved ones of the man who died and that all Quebecers are mourning today, after this gratuitous act of violence.

Marois said our society cannot let violence dictate our collective choices and it's through a democratic voice that we must express them.

The suspect allegedly entered the venue from the back as Marois was giving a jubilant address calling for unity among Quebecers. The back door was about six metres from the stage.

"I would be lying to you to confirm 100 per cent that there was no danger to her or the people inside, but the shot was fired at the back of the building," Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière of the Montreal police told reporters outside the scene.

"For us, this is considered a homicide scene," Lafrenière said. It's the city's 22nd homicide of the year.

Quebec Liberal leader Jean Charest, who is coming off his provincial election loss as a four-term premier, said he was saddened by the incident. He spoke to reporters from his former Sherbrooke riding Wednesday morning.

[ Related: Three reasons why Jean Charest lost the Quebec election ]

"It's a shock. Who would've thought something like this would happen? Especially on election night. Our thoughts are with the victims and the family, and we'll find out more today about what happened," he said.

The gunman allegedly set a fire at the rear door of the building before he was detained. Police said four or five families living in the area were evacuated from their homes due to the fire, which they said was started with an incendiary device.

(With files from the CBC)