Murder and gun charges laid in Quebec election night shooting

The alleged gunman in the Quebec election night shooting that left one man dead and another wounded during the Parti Québécois victory rally earlier this week was formally charged today with first-degree murder and 15 other offences.

Richard Henry Bain of La Conception, Que., a town about 140 kilometres northwest of Montreal, is accused of killing a stage technician just outside the concert hall where PQ Leader and Quebec premier-designate Pauline Marois was delivering her victory speech.

The other charges against Bain include:

Three counts of attempted murder.

Weapons violations.

Arson-related offences.

Aggravated assault.

The targets of the alleged attempted murders were a police officer and two civilians, one of whom was a technician who was taken to hospital with critical injuries but is now in stable condition.

In total, police seized 22 guns from the accused, authorities said Thursday.

Two were recovered from the scene, three were found in Bain's vehicle and more were found at his home. According to the list of charges, they included a Beretta 9-mm pistol, a semiautomatic .22-calibre rifle, a .357 Magnum revolver and a type of CZ-858 hunting and sport rifle.

Crown prosecutor Éliane Perreault said outside the Montreal courtroom that all the weapons except one were registered, including the one he is alleged to have used to shoot the victims. The weapons charges Bain faces relate to improperly storing them and having them in places where he wasn't authorized to.

"The use that he made of them, the ammunition, the storage — this is what gives rise to" those charges, she said.

Bain, 61, is a businessman from the Mont Tremblant area. He was arrested at the Metropolis concert hall where Marois was midway through a jubilant victory speech when a shot rang out.

Two men were hit by the bullet, fired near the backstage door of the venue, Perreault said. The back door of the venue was then set on fire using accelerant and a flare, the prosecutor said.

Technician Denis Blanchette, 48, died at the scene. His colleague Dave Courage, 27, suffered serious injury. A third person was treated for shock.

Moments later, police on scene took a man, dressed in a bathrobe with a mask over his face, into custody.

A unidentified police official told The Associated Press the gunman's weapon jammed after the first shot was fired, suggesting the shooting could have been much worse.

Perreault would not comment when asked if Marois herself was the target.

"For now, the investigation is going on and we'll see in the future if there's any charge that has to be added to the ones already in the file."

Bain was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal on Wednesday, where he underwent what the hospital described as a medical evaluation. The hospital hasn't said if the evaluation was completed for physical or psychiatric reasons.

The suspect's legal aid lawyer, Elfride-Andrée Duclervil, said only that Bain "felt ill yesterday."

"I went to visit my client yesterday at the Royal Vic. Unfortunately, I was unable to see him. I was able to speak with him freely today, I mean for a couple of seconds, before his appearance in court."

Asked whether the defence would seek a psychiatric exam, Duclervil said: "I think everything is a bit premature right now. I'll be discussing with my client."

Bain is due back in court on Oct. 11.

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