A suspect arrested in connection to Sunday’s deadly mosque attack in Quebec City has been identified as Alexandre Bissonnette, Canadian media and The Associated Press reported. Officials initially identified Mohamed Khadir as a second suspect, but police later backtracked.
The deadly shooting unfolded at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre during prayers on Sunday night. Six people were killed and eight others were wounded. One of the suspects was reportedly armed with an AK-47.
Authorities arrested Bissonnette shortly after the attack and reportedly handcuffed a second man, who police now say was a witness, according to Fox News:
Police said they arrested one man outside the mosque — and another suspect turned himself in, calling 911 less than 20 minutes later and giving officers his location in d’Orleans so they could arrest him. It was unclear whether Bissonnette was the man who made the phone call.
Bissonnette was reportedly a student at Laval University near Quebec, a source close to the investigation told Radio Canada.
Another anonymous witness told Radio Canada that he heard the gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” during the shooting:
Image Credit: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images
“It seemed to me that they had a Quebecois accent. They started to fire, and as they shot they yelled, ‘Allahu akbar!’ The bullets hit people that were praying. People who were praying lost their lives. A bullet passed right over my head.”
In a strongly worded statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack as a “terrorist attack on Muslims.”
“While authorities are still investigating and details continue to be confirmed, it is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear,” he said. “Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country.”
Police did not reveal a possible motive. It’s unclear if police are still searching for other suspects.