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Six dead, motive unclear after Quebec City mosque shooting

Last Updated Jan 30, 2017 at 9:38 am PDT

Police survey the scene of a shooting at a Quebec City mosque on Sunday January 29, 2017. (Courtesy Maclean's Magazine via CP)

Suspect phoned police, surrendering after mosque shooting in Quebec

Several people in critical condition after attack at Quebec City mosque

Mosque was previously a target of a racist attack before Sunday's shooting

QUEBEC CITY, QUE. (NEWS 1130) – Several police agencies in Quebec City are teaming together to nail down a motive following last night’s shooting during evening prayers at a mosque.

Six people are dead between the ages of 39 and 60 and more than a dozen others are injured. And doctors say five people who were injured in the shooting are listed in critical condition in the hospital.

Police say one suspect was arrested at the scene, while a second suspect called 911 from his car, saying he was armed but wanted to cooperate with investigators. Denis Turcotte of Quebec Police says a second suspect told them he was waiting for police to come and get him. Later in the morning, police said one of the suspects was simply being treated as a witness and no longer as a suspect.

Investigators are releasing very few details about the suspects. They say the two are in their 20s or early 30s and are not known to police. They are not releasing where the pair is from or what charges could be laid. “The management team against terrorism was deployed [last night,] in support to response to the Quebec City Police force,” say police. “We are all working together. We are attacking terrorism through prevention and response to any event.”

RCMP say security at mosques around the city was increased immediately following the shooting and that remained in place for morning prayers. Seventy-five police officers of the Quebec Provincial Police are working in conjunction with other agencies to collect as much evidence as possible. Profilers have also been brought in to help police.

Mounties addressed the idea of a terror threat. “The investigation is underway. There are all kinds of avenues open to us. At this point in time, I have no additional comment to make but we are confident that the threat is under control. We know that these are individuals who wanted to put fear into the public, they are involved in violent activity.”

Police say they don’t currently have information that any other suspects are involved.

This isn’t the first time the mosque involved was the target of a racist event. Last July, a gift-wrapped bloody pig’s head was left at the facility during the holy month of Ramadan. Attached to it was a note that read, “Bon appetite.”

In light of the attack, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has cancelled a Metis Crown Summit that was scheduled for this morning. The announcement was made in a short statement from his office. He will instead made a statement in the House of Commons and then travel to Quebec City. Federal Conservative Party Leader Rona Ambrose and Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair will also travel to Quebec.

US President Donald Trump did reach out to the prime minister to express his condolences.

Widespread reaction

Pope Francis is the latest world leader to condemn the Quebec mosque attack and is calling for mutual respect among people of all faiths. Francis conveyed his condolences in writing and in person to the archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Gerald LaCroix, who was in Rome this morning returned immediately to Canada.

Last night Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he had spoken with Quebec’s premier and that the federal government has offered any and all assistance that province may require.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says, “We are not immune to hatred in this country. But we will always, always, always stand up to it together.”
Flags across Quebec today will be lowered to half-staff.