A recent shooting rampage perpetrated last Sunday at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center in Quebec City, Canada has left six people dead and another eight injured, according to a number of reports by CNN and CBC News.
It was originally thought that two gunmen dressed in black entered the mosque and opened fire on a crowd of worshippers, including families and children. According to CNN, the shooting killed six people, identified by authorities to be Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Azzeddine Soufiane, 57; and Ibrahima Barry, 39. Another 39 people inside the mosque were unharmed. Prior to the attack, CBC reported that an unknown gunmen called 911 and stated he was armed but willing to cooperate with police.
While reports were initially accurate that two men were arrested by police on the scene of the shooting, only one, Alexandre Bissonnette, was identified as the person who opened fire at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Quebec City court. The other man was released and is now considered a witness.
Bissonnette, a student of Laval University and a former participant in the Cadet Program (a nationwide youth program affiliated with the Canadian Armed Forces), faces six counts of first-degree murder and five attempted murder charges, according to the Quebec Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Laval University officials stated that they "strongly and unreservedly denounce the unacceptable and terrible acts" that occurred at the mosque. Bissonnette has since been banned from any study or research activities until the end of the judicial process, the school said.
According to CNN, Sunday's attack is not the first time the same mosque was the target of a hate crime. Last year, the center received a wrapped pig's head and a magazine with a pig on its cover, which read "Bonne Appetit." Under the Quran, the consumption of pork is prohibited, and handling pigs is deemed unclean.
Canadian leaders from across the country were quick to condemn the shooting. Current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent out his condolences via Twitter. "Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City. My thoughts are with victims & their families," his post reads in both French and English.
Tonight, Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City. My thoughts are with victims & their families.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 30, 2017
The current Premier of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, also offered support for the tragedy, stating, "Let's unite against violence. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim people of Quebec."