MONTREAL – Police interrogated a man accused of opening fire at a midnight victory rally for Quebec’s new separatist premier, but they said the suspect’s rambling statements in French and English offered no immediate motive for the shooting that killed one man and wounded another.
A police official on Wednesday identified the suspect as Richard Henry Bain, 62, from La Conception, Quebec.
Police said Bain will likely appear in court this morning. Meanwhile, people who know Bain, the owner of a hunting and fishing resort, recalled his complaints about bureaucracy but could think of no political grievances he held.
Quebec provincial police said the masked gunman wearing a bathrobe opened fire just outside the building where Pauline Marois of the separatist Parti Quebecois was giving her victory speech.
The gunman was heard shouting “The English are waking up!” in French as police dragged him away.
Marois was whisked off the stage by guards and was not injured. She later called the shooting an isolated event and said it was probably a case of a person who has “serious health issues.”
“I am deeply affected by this, but I have to go forward and assume my responsibilities,” Quebec’s first female premier said Wednesday, calling Quebec a nonviolent society. “An act of folly cannot rid us of this reality.”
The attack shocked Canadians who are not used to such violence and have long worried that gun violence more often seen in the U.S. could become more common in their country.
It was not clear if the gunman was trying to shoot Marois, whose party favors separation from Canada for the French-speaking province.
Marois had just declared her firm conviction that Quebec needs to be a sovereign country when she was pulled off the stage.
Police initially said the gunman made it into the building, but later said they believe he opened fire just outside in the back alley.
The gunman then lit a small fire before he was captured, police said.