© 2022 90.5 WESA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

French-Canadian Student Charged With Murdering 6 In Quebec City Mosque

Flowers at a makeshift memorial near the Islamic Cultural Center in Quebec City Monday.
Alice Chiche
/
AFP/Getty Images
Flowers at a makeshift memorial near the Islamic Cultural Center in Quebec City Monday.

Canadian authorities say a 27-year-old man was solely responsible for the armed attack on a Quebec City mosque on Sunday.

The man, who has been identified as Alexandre Bissonnette, faces 11 charges: six counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder. In a brief appearance in court he did not enter a plea.

The Associated Press, citing local hospital officials, reports five shooting victims remain in critical condition and 12 others suffered minor injuries.

Local authorities initially were looking for two suspects, but another man arrested at the mosque was determined to be just a witness to the shooting, which occurred Sunday evening.

The police have not discussed a possible motive for the attack. The New York Times reports that Bissonnette has a history of anti-Islam comments online and had expressed support for the far-right French political party, the National Front.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Province Premier Philippe Couillard quickly called the shootings an act of terrorism.

Mass shootings are rare in Canada. Adding to the shock and outrage is the fact that Quebec City, a metropolitan area of about 806,000 people, saw just two killings in all of 2015. Nevertheless, Canadian Muslim activists report that the mosque has seen an uptick in threats and vandalism.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that President Trump had called Trudeau to express his condolences. In a telegram, Russian President Vladimir Putin did the same.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said her city would signal its solidarity with Quebec City by turning off the lights on the Eiffel Tower Monday.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.
WESA will be surveying Pennsylvania candidates for federal and state office for the 2022 general election — tell us which issues are most important to you.