QUEBEC CITY — The 27-year-old suspect in a terrorist attack against Muslims at a Quebec City mosque was charged Monday with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.
Alexandre Bissonnette was known for taking right-wing, nationalist positions and supporting the French far-right party of Marine Le Pen. The shooting during evening prayers Sunday left six people dead in an attack that Canada's prime minister called an act of terrorism against Muslims.
More than 50 people were at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre when the shooting erupted. In addition to the six who died, five were in critical condition and 12 others suffered minor injuries, University of Quebec Hospital Centre spokeswoman Genevieve Dupuis said Monday. The dead ranged in age from 39 to 60.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard both characterized the attack as a terrorist act, which came amid heightened tensions worldwide over Trump's travel ban on seven Muslim countries.
Trudeau said the victims were targeted simply because of their religion and spoke directly to the more than 1 million Muslims who live in Canada, saying, "We are with you."
The suspect was arrested in his car on a bridge near d'Orleans, where he called 911 to say he wanted to cooperate with police. Authorities, who initially named two suspects, said the other man taken into custody was a witness to the attack and was released earlier Monday. They said they did not believe there were other suspects but were investigating.
Police did not give a motive for the attack.
President Donald Trump called Trudeau to express condolences to the Canadian people and to offer any assistance that might be needed. The White House pointed to the attack as an example of why Trump's policies were needed. "We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms. It's a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant and why the president is taking steps to be pro-active, rather than reactive when it comes to our nation's safety and security," White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.