QUEBEC CITY/TORONTO, Jan 30, (Agencies): Police were investigating a single suspect in a shooting at a Quebec City mosque that killed six people, with a second person who was arrested now considered a witness, authorities said on Monday.
The sole suspect in the attack on Sunday evening prayers was Alexandre Bissonnette, a French-Canadian university student, according to a source familiar with the matter. The man now considered a witness was of Moroccan descent although his nationality was not immediately known, the source said.
He was named by media as Mohamed Khadir or Mohammed Belkhadir by media. Police declined to give details of those arrested or possible motives for the shooting at the mosque, the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. Authorities initially said they had arrested two suspects, but in a Twitter message, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that “following the investigation, the second individual is now considered as a witness.”
Police said on Monday morning they were confident no other suspects were involved in the attack. “They consider this a lone wolf situation,” the source said.
In Kuwait, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a cable of condolences Monday to the Governor General of Canada David Johnston. In the cable, His Highness the Amir expressed sincere condolences and sorrow over victims of the shooting attack that targeted a mosque in Quebec City last night, which killed a number of worshipers and wounded others.
His Highness the Amir affirmed Kuwaits strong condemnation of such terrorist act against houses of worshiping, which contradict all humanitarian laws, values, and principles. His Highness also reiterated Kuwaits firm stand against all forms of terrorism, praying to Allah Almighty to bestow his mercy and forgiveness upon the deceased victims, place them in his heavens, and grant patience and solace to their families.
His Highness the Amir also wished a speedy recovery for the wounded. Meanwhile, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables to the Canadian Governor General. In addition to the six killed, five people were critically injured and 12 were treated for minor injuries, a spokeswoman for the Quebec City University Hospital said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier called the shooting “a terrorist attack on Muslims.” He was heading to Quebec City later on Monday, a spokesman said. US President Donald Trump called Trudeau to express his condolences “and offered to provide any assistance as needed,” said Trudeau spokesman Cameron Ahmad. He gave no further details about of the call.
The shooting came over a weekend when Trudeau said Canada would welcome refugees, speaking in response to Trump’s order to halt the US refugee program and to temporarily bar citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Trump’s action, which the president said was aimed at protecting Americans from the threat of attacks by militant Islamists, was widely condemned in the United States and abroad as targeting Muslims. A father of four, the owner of a halal butcher near the mosque, was among those killed, said Pamela Sakinah Elhayet, a friend of one of the people at the mosque.