Quebec shooting suspect: His gun jammed, saving lives, say police
Quebec shooting suspect Richard Henry Bain was arraigned Thursday on 16 charges, including murder, attempted murder, and possession of explosives. Bain, owner of a fishing and hunting lodge, had legally registered 22 guns.
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Marie-France Brisson, director general in the municipality of La Conception, said Bain frequently met with community officials, and dealt with them in French, not English, though it was broken French. He complained about bureaucratic obstacles, but there were no outbursts about language, she added.Skip to next paragraph
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Brisson said she had seen Bain in recent weeks and noticed no change in his usual demeanor.
The suspect was a heavy-set man wearing a black ski mask or balaclava, glasses and a blue bathrobe over a black shirt and black shorts. 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 anyone else was involved.
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."
The attack shocked Canadians who are not used to such violence at political events and have long worried that gun violence more often seen in the U.S. could become more common in their country.
The victims worked at production company Productions du Grand Bambou Inc, a person answering the phone at the Montreal company confirmed. Friends of Blanchette, a lighting technician, packed a downtown Montreal street Wednesday night in a candlelight vigil outside the hall where he was killed.
It was still 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.
"What's going on?" she asked her security detail. The crowd apparently was unaware of what had happened.
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.
He didn't put up any resistance, said Lieut. Guy Lapointe of the provincial police.
Police had dealt with the suspect previously for a minor incident, Lapointe said.
Outgoing Liberal Premier Jean Charest, who announced he is stepping down as party leader after ruling Quebec for nearly a decade, said "Quebec has been struck directly in the heart" by the shooting.
The separatist Parti Quebecois party's victory is unlikely to signal a new push for independence. Opinion polls show little appetite for a separatist referendum. Previous referendums on separatism were rejected by voters in 1980 and 1995.
The last outbreak of major political violence in Quebec occurred in the 1970s, when Canadian soldiers were deployed after terrorist acts by a group seeking independence. Members of the militant FLQ kidnapped and killed Quebec's labor minister and later abducted, then freed, a British diplomat. The "October Crisis" was considered one of the darkest periods in modern Canadian history.
Gillies reported from Toronto.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.