Six people are dead following a 29 January 2017 shooting at a mosque in Canada’s Québec City.
The shooting took place during the mosque’s evening prayers at the Québec City Islamic Cultural Center. About fifty people were in the center when the gunmen burst in:
“Why is this happening here? This is barbaric,” said the mosque’s president, Mohamed Yangui.
In June 2016, a pig’s head was left on the doorstep of the cultural centre.
Yangui, who was not inside the mosque when the shooting occurred, said he got frantic calls from people at evening prayers. He did not know how many were injured, saying they had been taken to different hospitals across Quebec City.
Witnesses said that the suspect had a thick Québécois accent, and two suspects, identified as two men in their twenties, were arrested:
Sources identify 2 suspects in Quebec City mosque attack as Alexandre Bissonnette and Mohamed Khadir. No other information released.
— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) January 30, 2017
However, Mohamed Khadir was subsequently released:
Updates: All injured are in the clear
One suspect only: Alexandre Bissionnette
Mohamed Khadir appears to have been the one who called 911
— Justin Ling (@Justin_Ling) January 30, 2017
The mass shooting is now being investigated as a “lone wolf” extremist attack:
Police declined to give details of those arrested or possible motives for the shooting at the mosque, the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec.
Authorities initially said they had arrested two suspects, but in a Twitter message, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that “following the investigation, the second individual is now considered as a witness.”
Police said on Monday morning they were confident no other suspects were involved in the attack.
At least seventeen people were also injured during the shooting attack, including several children:
Hamid Nadji had friends who were inside the mosque at the time of the shooting. He spoke to them afterward, and described the scene as “a carnage.”
“From what we heard over the phone, one person had a weapon discharged in his face because he had wanted to jump on the man to stop him. And the three others died because they wanted to catch the man.”
He said the assailant went into the mosque a first time, then left to recharge his weapon and came back a second, then a third time.
“Many of the people who lived through this fled their home countries to avoid such situations, because they lived through trauma and didn’t want the same for their children.”
This particular mosque has about five thousand supporters, and is one of six in the region.