Late last night, when the news first broke about the massacre in the mosque in Quebec City, several media reports (including one from the CBC) said that there were up to three gunmen, and that they shouted “Allahu Akhbar” as they gunned down their victims.
Before I went to bed, Vlad and Sandra Solomon made a subtitled clip translated from the Arabic, which I posted here. It was based on this Facebook video, and discussed an intramural conflict at the mosque between “moderates” and “extremists”.
When I woke up this morning, the number of suspects had been reduced to two. Both of them had been arrested. Their names were released (or leaked), one Muslim, the other French-Canadian.
I had to leave home early this afternoon and was out for about six hours. Before I left, I rushed to post the latest update, which said that only one of the two men was a suspect; the other was a “witness”. The wording of the article was difficult to understand; after several readings, I made it out to say that the French-Canadian was the witness and Mohamed was the shooter. I was mistaken.
When I got home early this evening, I learned that it was just the opposite. It seems that I made an error in reading comprehension (along with numerous other people).
The man who has been arrested and charged with murder is named Alexandre Bissonnette. No beard, no evidence of conversion to Islam, with right-wing political leanings. In other words, a godsend (allahsend?) to Prime Minister Justin “Baby Doc” Trudeau.
At this point the story doesn’t make much sense. What happened to “Allahu Akhbar”? How does an arrested “suspect” become a “witness”? Why was the second man a suspect for a while? Is he perhaps a government informant or infiltrator who accompanied Mr. Bissonnette?
The whole thing is very smelly. I’m not willing to venture any conjectures about what it all means, at the risk of descending into unfounded conspiracy theories. I’ll just have to wait until more information becomes available.
Below are excerpts from the exhaustive report in the The Daily Mail:
Loner student ‘who liked Trump, Le Pen and mocked Syrian refugees online’ is charged with six counts of murder for gunning down Muslim men as they prayed in a Quebec City mosque
The loner student accused of killing six Muslim men as they prayed at a Quebec mosque was pictured arriving at court on Monday to face charges for their murders.
Alexandre Bissonnette is accused of slaughtering the men and injuring five others by opening fire on them as they attended evening prayers at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center on Sunday.
The 27-year-old student was described by classmates as a pro-Trump loner who did not fit in well at Laval University where is studying anthropology and political sciences. But neighbors of the family home in the affluent Quebec suburb of Cap Rouge were stunned to learn Bissonnette, described as a ‘typical boy-next-door’, was being accused of the shooting.
He was arrested on Sunday night after phoning police himself from his Mitsubishi where investigators allegedly found two rifles and an AK-47.
Bissonnette was charged with six counts of murder, five of attempted murder and is likely to have more charges brought against him, police said on Monday.
Originally police believed two gunmen had carried out the attack and took Moroccan-Canadian Mohamed el Khadir into custody. He is now being treated as a witness and no one is else is wanted in connection with the attack.
‘The inquiry is ongoing to determine the motives,’ said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superintendent Martin Plante.
Six men aged between 39 and 60 were killed at the mosque as they observed evening prayers at the mosque which said security had become a ‘major’ concern.
Another five are in intensive care at Quebec City’s Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus after the shooting on Sunday night.
Twelve others had less serious injuries and another 39 escaped from the mosque unharmed.
At a press conference on Monday afternoon, officials from the Gendarmerie royale du Canada confirmed the suspect had been charged with six counts of murder.
Searches are ongoing at the suspect’s home and at the mosque, they said. It’s likely he will have more charges, specifically under the terrorism act, brought against him.
Bissonnette fled the scene in his Mitsubishi but called 911 himself later to turn himself in, local media reported. His car was spotted on the side of the road with a police vehicle behind it on Sunday night
Bissonnette is a student at Laval University. A friend of Bissonnette’s said he was pro-Trump and conservative but did not think he was capable of violence
The 27-year-old was dressed in a white prison jumpsuit and sneakers and appeared to be handcuffed as he made his way inside the courthouse
Alexandre Bissonnette’s house in Quebec City, Canada, (pictured) was searched by police after the shooting
Bissonnette, 27, and el Khadir were arrested on Sunday night after six men were shot dead at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center during evening prayers.
El Khadir was picked up by police at the mosque but Bissonnette fled in his Mitsubishi and was arrested in nearby Ile d’Orleans around 20 minutes later after calling 911, Le Soleil reports. Police found two rifles and an AK-47 in the car. Court clerk Isabelle Ferland earlier identified the pair as the two men arrested in connection with the shooting.
Police are not seeking anyone else in connection with the attack which was is being treated as an act of terror.
A source later told Reuters police were looking at Bissonnette as a ‘lone wolf’.
The political sciences and anthropology student, who is from the affluent Quebec City suburb Cap-Rouge, will appear in court sometime on Monday or Tuesday.
Students described him to DailyMail.com as a pro-Trump loner but a timid man who didn’t seem capable of committing an act of terror.
‘Based on the conversations that I had with him during the American presidential campaign, it’s true he is pro-Trump,’ the student, who asked to remain anonymous, said.
He added that he Bissonnette had ‘never demonstrated’ a violent side but that he didn’t ‘fit in’ among peers.
‘Yes, he was conservative in the political sense but despite the profound differences between us, he never showed or suggested that political violence or terrorism was something he was capable of.
‘He didn’t fit in well at university.’
One Facebook group dedicated to welcoming refugees in the Quebec City area claimed that Bissonnette was well known in the area for his ‘pro-Le Pen and anti-feminist positions at Laval University and on social networks,’ wrote the Bienvenue aux réfugié.es — Ville de Québec Facebook group.
He is said to have acted like a ‘troll’ and would attack women’s rights.
A Facebook page reportedly belonging to Bissonnette, which has since been taken down, revealed support for far right ideologies, including that of Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front.
Other ‘likes’ included Israeli Defense Forces, Donald Trump, and outspoken critics of Islam Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.
Yet neighbors paint a very different picture of the suspect, describing him as the ‘perfect boy-next-door’, who loved his family, sports and would always remember to say hello.
Alain Dufour, a financier who retired last week, and has lived next door to Bissonnette’s family home since the alleged shooter was a child, said: ‘ Alexandre is a very nice, friendly young man. He and his brother have been brought up very closely and carefully by his parents. They are all very close.
‘Alexandre has never given anybody any trouble in this area and is the perfect boy next door.
‘He is friendly and always says hello. I didn’t know that their son had a gun and never imagined he could kill innocent people like that.
‘My wife Huguette and I are very upset about those people who were killed. Very sad.’
His wife added: Alexandre has lived here all his life. He is very sweet. I remember him as a boy when he had a paddle car and would ride it outside his house.
‘I can’t believe he could have done something like that. I am in shock.’
Police are speaking to Bissonnette’s parents, his father Raymond — a retired government employee who he addressed as ‘Papa’ — and his mother Manon, but insisted they were not suspects in the case.
A police officer at the Bissonnette house told DailyMail.com: ‘We are just beginning the investigation and there a lot of questions. But in my experience of these cases the parents do not know anything before.
‘And they are not suspects at all here. They are victims themselves.’
Laval University’s rector said he would would assist authorities in any way he could but has not yet confirmed Bissonnette’s enrollment. He was not known to police before Sunday night’s atrocity.
Hat tip: Vlad Tepes.