Masked assassin opens fire during speech by new Quebec leader (+video)
A gunman in a black ski mask opened fire while Pauline Marois was giving her victory speech as Quebec's new premier. The gunman killed one, wounded another. Pauline Marios favors separation for the French-speaking province from Canada.
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.
It was not clear if the gunman was trying to shoot Marois, whose party favors separation for the French-speaking province from Canada.
Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere said the 62-year-old gunman, who has not been identified, 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.
Police said they didn't know the gunman's motive. As the suspect was being dragged toward the police cruiser, he was heard shouting in French, "The English are waking up!"
Marois returned to the stage after the shooting and asked the crowd to peacefully disperse and then seemed to finish her speech. She left the hall amid a tight cordon of provincial police bodyguards.
The attack shocked Canadians who are not used to such violence at political events.
The suspect was a heavy-set man wearing a black ski or balaclava mask and a blue bathrobe over black clothes. Police didn't identify what weapons he had but camera footage showed a pistol and a rifle at the scene. Police said there is no reason to believe there are other suspects.
Police said a 45-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene and a second man in his 30s was wounded. A third man was treated for shock. Police didn't identify the victims so it was not clear if any of them were party officials. The crowd was apparently unaware of what happened when Marois was whisked off the stage.
Marois said her thoughts were with the family of the victim in a statement issued early Wednesday.