UPDATE: Six Dead in Quebec Mosque Shooting
QUEBEC CITY, Canada — The gunmen fired indiscriminately into the crowd of worshipers, witnesses said, even though families were in the mosque.
The rampage at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center left six people dead.
The province’s premier, Philippe Couillard, called the attack an act of terror.
But many questions remain, and some details have changed as the investigation evolves. Here’s what we know so far:
At least two gunmen dressed in black opened fire at the center in Quebec City on Sunday, witnesses said.
Authorities have not identified the six slain victims, but said they were all men between the ages of 39 and 60.
Five wounded victims remained hospitalized Monday, a spokeswoman for Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus said.
The National Police of Quebec said 39 others inside the mosque were not hurt.
Of the two people arrested Sunday night, only one is now considered a suspect, said Surete de Quebec, the police organization investigating the shooting.
The other person who was arrested is now considered a witness and not a suspect, as originally believed, police told CNN.
Authorities have not released the name of the suspect or a possible motive, but police are investigating it as an act of terrorism. They’re also trying to determine whether any accomplices were involved.
CNN partner CBC reported that an attacker called 911 and said he was armed, but said was willing to cooperate with police.
The mosque’s response
The mosque urged the public to not jump to conclusions or spread unsubstantiated rumors.
“Please wait for preliminary result (of the investigation) before circulating rumors,” the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center said on Facebook. “The situation is very critical.”
Another post showed the center’s gratitude for the “hundreds of messages of compassion coming from all over.”
At least two vigils, in Quebec City and in Montreal, are planned for Monday.
Mosque was previously targeted
This is not the first time the mosque has been targeted.
Last year, the cultural center received a wrapped pig’s head and a magazine with a pig on its cover, saying “Bonne Appetit,” according to a post on its Facebook page. The post reads:
“We just learned that a gesture of hate towards our Great Mosque took place Sunday morning (14 Ramadan) around Salat Al-Fajr! Police was made aware and opened an investigation!”
Under the Quran, pork is prohibited and pigs are considered unclean.
Canada’s leaders condemned the attack on social media.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his condolences in both French and English.
“Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City. My thoughts are with victims & their families.”
Later, in a statement on his official site, Trudeau wrote:
“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.
“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country. Canadian law enforcement agencies will protect the rights of all Canadians, and will make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators of this act and all acts of intolerance.”
Premier Couillard said Quebec would support Muslims.
“Let’s unite against violence,” the post reads. “We stand in solidarity with the Muslim people of Quebec.”
A video shared on Facebook Live showed the aftermath including police and several ambulances surrounding the mosque.