On Monday, Canadian authorities announced that Laval University student Alexandre Bissonnette is the sole suspect accused of a mass shooting at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center that left six men dead and five in critical condition.
The shooting took place around 8:00 PM ET Sunday night during prayer time at the cultural center. Authorities say six men (ages ranging from 39 to 60) were killed and 19 people wounded, five of whom are in critical condition; the other 12 reportedly suffered only minor injuries.
Bissonnette, a student in his late-20s from an affluent Quebec City suburb, fled the scene in his Mitsubishi, but called 911 around 20 minutes later to turn himself in. When police arrested him in nearby ile d’Orleans, they recovered two rifles and an AK-47 in his vehicle.
A police source told Reuters that they suspect that Bissonnette is a “lone wolf,” though they have not yet assigned a motive. French Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has condemned the act as a “terrorist attack on Muslims.”
Initially, authorities provided two names of men whom they had arrested as possible suspects, Bissonnette and Moroccan-Canadian Mohamed Khadir, but confirmed Monday afternoon that Khadir is only a witness to the heinous act and is not facing charges. Fox News reports on the changing story:
The lone suspect was identified as Alexandre Bissonnette, a student at the nearby Laval University, a law enforcement source told Reuters.
Police initially named Mohamed el Khadir as a second suspect, The Associated Press reported, before cops apparently backtracked.
Witnesses said at least one gunman shouted “Allahu akbar!” while opening fire at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre Sunday night, killing six men by shooting each one of them in the back.
UPDATE: More information about Bissonnette is starting to emerge. Monday afternoon, The Globe and Mail published a profile that describes him as a “right-wing troll” who became inspired politically by French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen and defended Donald Trump online:
The suspect in the deadly attack on a Quebec City mosque was known in the city’s activist circles as a right-wing troll who frequently took anti-foreigner and anti-feminist positions and stood up for U.S. President Donald Trump. […]
Mr. Bissonnette’s online profile and school friendships revealed little interest in extremist politics until last March when French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen visited Quebec City and inspired Mr. Bissonnette to vocal extreme online activism, according to people who clashed with him.
Though Bissonnette was active online, the piece does not give any indication that he posted anything that struck anyone as hate speech. “While he ‘liked’ the page of Ms. Le Pen and other right-wing politicians, he also liked Garfield and pop stars such as Katy Perry,” the Globe and Mail notes.
He also seems to have had no significant run-ins with the law, other than mundane traffic tickets, police saying he was “not on their radar before the attack.” The piece goes on to describe Bissonnette’s troubled early life, which apparently was marked by frequently bullying. Read the full article here.
More from Daily Wire on the Quebec mosque shooting:
This article has been revised to include updated information from the Canadian authorities.