Suspect in Quebec shooting charged

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois may have been the target of an attack.

Story highlights

  • Man faces 16 charges related to shooting at political rally
  • Police say new Premier Pauline Marois may have been the target of the shooting
  • The suspect shouts, "The English are waking up!" as he was taken away

Prosecutors on Thursday brought first-degree murder and 15 other charges against a man accused of opening fire at a victory rally for Quebec's newly elected premier, killing one person and wounding another.

The suspect, identified as Richard Henry Bain, 62, was arrested at a rally for Pauline Marois.

Marois was speaking to excited supporters near midnight Tuesday when the shooter, dressed in what appeared to be a bathrobe and face mask and armed with two guns, opened fire just outside the building.

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He then set a small fire at the Montreal concert hall's back door, police said.

Marois' security team hustled her off stage. She was not injured, but one person died and another was wounded, according to police.

Suspect in Quebec shooting hospitalized

Bain had a brief first appearance in court Thursday, but did not enter a plea, said Jean Pascal Boucher, spokesman for the director of criminal and prosecutions in Quebec. Bain's next court appearance is set for October 11.

Charges against Bain include one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and one count each of aggravated assault and arson, Boucher said.

Prosecutor Eliane Perreault said three other weapons were found in a car and many more were located at the suspect's home.

Police said they were trying to determine whether Marois was the intended target.

While it's not clear what the motive for the attack may have been, the man shouted "The English are waking up!" in French as he was being taken to a police cruiser, according to reports.

Marois' party, Parti Quebecois, wants the French-speaking province to secede from Canada and become its own country.

Marois and her party defeated the incumbent Liberal party in the elections, unseating longtime premier Jean Charest and making her the province's first female leader.

Quebec voters first elected a separatist government in 1976, and since that time the province has quarreled with the English-speaking majority in the rest of Canada over its position in the country.

Quebec voters have twice rejected referendums supporting sovereignty for the province, the last time in a closely contested 1995 vote, said Antonia Maioni, a political science professor at McGill University in Montreal.

The issue seemed to fade after that loss and the 2003 election of Charest as premier, and was not the central issue in the election that vaulted Marois to power, Maioni said.

"Sovereignty played (a role), but I wouldn't say it was the ballot box issue in this election," Maioni said.

During her victory speech, Marois called for unity and told English-speaking Quebec residents that their rights would be respected, CBC reported.

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