A masked gunman opened fire during a midnight victory rally for Quebec's new premier, killing one person and wounding another. The new premier, Pauline Marois of the separatist Parti Quebecois, was whisked off the stage by guards while giving her speech and uninjured.The gunman was wearing a robe and mask while armed with a rifle. By shouting "the English are waking up", it appears that the attack was politically motivated, and it would further appear that this was an assassination attempt against Marois.
It was not clear if the gunman was trying to shoot Marois, whose party favors separation for the French-speaking province from Canada. Police identified the gunman only as a 62-year-old man, and were still questioning him Wednesday morning.
Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere said the gunman opened fire in the back of the hall while Marois was giving her victory speech to hundreds of supporters at the Metropolis auditorium. She had just declared her firm conviction that Quebec needs to be a sovereign country before she was pulled off the stage.
"What's going on?" Marois told her security detail as they grabbed her arms and took her off the stage during the celebration of her party's victory in Tuesday's provincial election.
The gunman then fled outside where he set a small fire before he was captured, police said.
As police dragged the man to a cruiser, he shouted in French: "The English are waking up!" CNN affiliate CBC reported. The suspect appeared to be wearing a bathrobe or housecoat.Marois and her party have long been associated with a movement for Quebec to declare its independence from Canada. Also, Marois' party has received threatening phone calls.
Marois' party, Parti Quebecois, wants the French-speaking province to secede from Canada and become its own country. Marois, who will become the province's first female premier, and her party defeated the incumbent Liberal party.
Montreal police Commander Ian Lafreniere confirmed Marois was the target of the gunman, a 62-year-old man whose identity has not yet been released by authorities.
According to Lafreniere, the assailant had two guns with him during the attack at the Metropolis concert venue.