A lone gunman killed six people and injured 17 others at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center last Sunday.
The only suspect held under custody is Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, known for being a “troll” of a Facebook group based in Quebec named Welcome to Refugees. He was arrested while armed as personnel from the Tactical Response Team arrived at the scene, as reported by La Presse.
Bissonnette is now facing six charges of first-degree murder, according to the Canadian police.
Another man, Mohammed Belkhadir, was held as a suspect but then reclassified as a witness.
“Tonight, Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City. My thoughts are with victims & their families,” tweeted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
An attack against Canadian Muslims
Conflicting reports show how media sources were inclined to release unconfirmed information, for example, Fox News jumped to the conclusion that the suspect responsible for the terrorist act was of Moroccan descent, referring to Belkhadir.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 30, 2017
It was later confirmed that he was not involved in the shooting, although White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not hesitate to use the event as leverage for President Trump’s plan for stopping immigration and reducing the risk of terrorist attacks.
According to Twitter user @timothywjohnson, Bissonnette was a supporter of Trump and of a French right-wing nationalist group.
— Timothy Johnson (@timothywjohnson) January 30, 2017
La Presse reports that Bissonnette was a student of anthropology at Laval University. According to former classmates, he was a “quiet guy,” but that he would be called “the villain,” contrary to his twin brother “the gentile.” Authorities searched his parent’s house for evidence, although neighbors stated that he and his brother were nothing short of ordinary.
“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities, and country. Canadian law enforcement agencies will protect the rights of all Canadians, and will make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators of this act and all acts of intolerance,” stated Prime Minister Trudeau on his website, according to CNN.
The deceased are all between 39 and 60 years old according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Authorities are yet to inform about the type of weapon that was used in the act of terror. Over 50 people were in the mosque when the shooting occurred at 7:55 p.m. Head priest Mohamed Yangui stated that the attack took place in the male section of the mosque.
The mosque had already been the subject of Islamophobic acts, specifically in the form of a pig head being put in the front of the building with a card reading “BONNE APPÉTIT” as a cruel prank, due to Muslims being forbidden from eating pork, according to the BBC.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard denied that the attack was influenced by Trump’s executive actions in banning the entry of select Muslim nationals. He added that people are now inclined to divide rather than uniting.
Reportedly, President Trump contacted Prime Minister Trudeau and offered both his condolences and assistance concerning investigations.