Gun shots rang out as a masked gunman opened fire during a midnight victory rally for Quebec’s new premier, Pauline Marois of the separatist Parti Quebecois, killing one person and wounding another.
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The new premier had to be rushed off the stage by guards while giving her speech during the shooting.
It was an intense scene and the AP was on hand to report the details:
Police identified the gunman only as a 62-year-old man, and were still questioning him Wednesday morning.
Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere said the gunman-opened fire in the back of the hall while Marois was giving her victory speech to hundreds of supporters at the Metropolis auditorium. She had just declared her firm conviction that Quebec needs to be a sovereign country before she was pulled off the stage.
“What’s going on?” Marois told her security detail as they grabbed her arms and took her off the stage during the celebration of her party’s victory in Tuesday’s provincial election.
The gunman then fled outside where he set a small fire before he was captured, police said.
Marois returned to the stage after the shooting and asked the crowd to peacefully disperse and then seemed to finish her speech. She left the hall amid a tight cordon of provincial police bodyguards.
The suspect was a heavy-set man wearing a black ski or balaclava mask and a blue bathrobe over black clothes. Police didn’t identify what weapons he had but camera footage showed a pistol and a rifle at the scene. Police said there is no reason to believe there are other suspects.
Police said a 48-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene and a 27-year-old man was wounded but would survive. A third man was treated for shock.
As the investigation continues, police are still trying to figure out a motive for the shooting. While the suspect was being dragged toward the police cruiser, he was heard shouting in French, “The English are waking up!”
Marois released a statement on the shooting, saying her thoughts were with the family of the victim:
“Following this tragedy all Quebecois are mourning today before such a gratuitous act of violence…Never will a society such as ours let violence dictate its collective choices.”
This is shocking considering Canadians are not used to such violence at political events. Unfortunately, the instances of mass violence are spreading like wildfire throughout the world.
Photo Credit: Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois is rushed from stage after shooting during victory rally (The Canadian Press, AP Photo/Graham Hughes)
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