MONTREAL - Charges are expected soon in a shooting that may have targeted Quebec's premier-in-waiting, an act that has sent shockwaves across Canada and elicited unflattering attention abroad.

Police are continuing to question the only suspect in Tuesday's attack at a Parti Quebecois victory celebration. He was being evaluated at a Montreal hospital and a provincial police spokesman said he expects a court arraignment Thursday morning.

Police sources said the suspect is 62-year-old Richard Henry Bain, the owner of a fishing retreat in the picturesque Laurentian mountains north of Montreal. The suspect was wearing a housecoat and balaclava when he was tackled by police after two people were shot, one of whom died.

Police say they cannot rule out the possibility that premier-designate Pauline Marois was the shooter's target. While the suspected gunman was only metres away, he never actually made it past the doorway into the room where Marois was speaking.

While he was being taken away into a police vehicle, Bain shouted an expletive and spoke of an awakening of English-speaking Quebecers.

Linguistic tensions had flared during an election campaign that featured PQ promises to extend language laws. But in her election night speech, when she spoke some English, and again at a news conference Wednesday, Marois pleaded for calm.

Marois urged people not to draw any political conclusions from the event.

She described it as an act of folly committed by someone who may be suffering from mental issues. And she defended her province's reputation in the face of worldwide media coverage of the incident.

"Never, never will I accept that Quebec is associated with violence," Marois told the news conference.

"It is an isolated event and it does not represent who we are... Quebec is not a violent society. One act of folly cannot change this."

Marois says that she had no idea she might have been in danger when bodyguards whisked her off the stage during her victory speech and she says she only learned after leaving the partisan celebration that someone had died.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement saying he was "angered and saddened" by what he described as a horrific shooting. He said it was a "tragic day" whenever an exercise of democracy is met with an act of violence.

The prime minister's initial phone call to Marois touched on the business of government but also on the shooting.

"(Harper) indicated that such acts of violence are inexcusable and have no place in Canada," said a summary of the discussion, provided by the Prime Minister's Office.

There was a moment of silence at an NDP retreat in St. John's, N.L., and Tom Mulcair, the party leader, said his colleagues were in a state of shock.

The body of the victim was carried out from the crime scene Wednesday around noon, about a dozen hours after the shocking events. Authorities wheeled out the covered body of the 48-year-old man, which was carried onto a gurney and lifted it into a van.

The victim was identified by a police source as Denis Blanchette. Media reports said he was a sound technician who was working at the Metropolis club Tuesday night.

The second person shot, a 27-year-old, was operated on early Thursday and was listed in stable condition, the hospital said. He, like Blanchette, was working behind the scenes at the club.

A third person who had been treated for shock was released from hospital.

Around midnight, pandemonium swept over what had been a celebration for the newly elected PQ. The incident triggered the surreal scene of a victory speech by Marois being interrupted as she was dragged off the stage by bodyguards.

A gunman had tried to blast his way in by the back of the building, shooting two people before setting a fire at the exit.

Police initially said the shooting took place inside, because one of the victims was found there. Police now believe both victims were outside when the attack occurred and one of them was dragged back inside by bodyguards.

The area around the club was sectioned off with police tape. Investigators milled about the area, examining a GMC truck and gas canister believed to be linked to the attack.

The popular rock band The Offspring had been scheduled to play at the Metropolis on Wednesday but the concert was moved to another venue.

A vigil was planned in front of the site at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Montreal police said they'll review whether more could have been done — but a senior officer said building vast security perimeters isn't the solution.

"When an event like that happens we have to re-evaluate everything," said Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere. "But we also have to keep a balance also."

Police said they had seen no warning signs of an impending attack.

"We're not finding any links to any threats," said Lt. Guy Lapointe of the Quebec provincial police. "There was no phone calls, no prior warnings, so thus far the investigation hasn't shown any links to any threats made."

Lapointe said two weapons were seized at the scene, but he wouldn't give specifics. During the incident, police confiscated a handgun and weapon that carried a resemblance to an AK-47 assault rifle.

Officials at the McGill University Health Centre confirmed, without identifying Bain by name, that a suspect had been transported under heavy guard to one of their hospitals for evaluation Wednesday. It was unclear whether he would remain in hospital into Thursday.

A Facebook page says a man named Richard Henry Bain runs a fishing lodge in La Conception, Que., near the resort of Mont-Tremblant. The website for the camp has been taken down.

A document from the local business association says Bain has been a member since last year. Police sources say he lived in Montreal until heading to the country.

Investigators can't say whether Marois was a target but, because that possibility exists, the provincial force is taking over the investigation.

"At this point, we can't establish whether or not, ultimately, the elected premier was a target," Lapointe said. "We can't push aside this theory so that's what the (Quebec provincial police) is going to lead this investigation."

Lapointe would not comment on any increased security arrangement for Marois but he added that police don't believe she is in any danger.

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Richard Henry Bain

    Richard Henry Bain arrives at court in Montreal on Thursday, Sept.6, 2012. Bain, 61, the suspect in a deadly shooting at a rally following the election of Quebec’s new separatist premier was arraigned Thursday on 16 charges, including murder, attempted murder and possession of explosives. (AP Photo/Le Devoir via The Canadian Press, Jacques Nadeau) MONTREAL OUT

  • A gate blocks the entrance to Richard Henry Bain's fishing camp in La Conception, near Mont-Tremblant, Que. on Wednesday Sept. 5, 2012. Police sources confirmed they arrested a suspect by that name in the Montreal shooting that left one person dead and made headlines around the world.

  • A three-axle military truck sits near the entrance to Richard Henry Bain's fishing camp in La Conception, near Mont-Tremblant, Que. on Wednesday Sept. 5, 2012. Police sources confirmed they arrested a suspect by that name in the Montreal shooting that left one person dead and made headlines around the world.

  • Denis Blanchette, Pauline Marois, Ginette Jean

    Ginette Jean, mother of Denis Blanchette, reacts as she touches her son's casket during funeral services Monday, Sept. 10, 2012 in Montreal. Blanchette was killed outside the Parti Quebecois election night rally last week. Richard Bain was arraigned Thursday, Sept. 6 on 16 charges, including murder, attempted murder and possession of explosives. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jocelyn Malette, Pool)

  • A man is arrested by police outside the Parti Quebecois victory rally in Montreal on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. A masked gunman wearing a blue bathrobe 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. Police identified the gunman only as a 62-year-old man, and were still questioning him Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Montreal La Presse via The Canadian Press, Olivier Pontbriand)

  • A weapon is recovered at the scene of the shooting outside the Parti Quebecois' election victory party (RDI screen shot)

  • Fire burns outside Montreal's Métropolis concert hall shortly after the shooting. (QMI)

  • A man is arrested outside Montreal's Métropolis concert hall soon after shots were fired during PQ Leader Pauline Marois' victory speech. (QMI)

  • A police officer looks towards a black SUV that has had its contents removed on a crime scene outside the Metropolis in Montreal on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

  • Police and fireman work at the rear of an auditorium where a gunman shot and killed at least one person during the PQ victory rally Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in Montreal. Guards whisked PQ leader Pauline Marois off the stage as handlers informed the partisan crowd there had been an explosive noise and they needed to clear the auditorium. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

  • Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois takes the stage after winnnig the provincial election in Tuesday, Que. September 4, 2012. With the win, Marois becomes the first female premier in Quebec history. Moments later, she was rushed off the stage.

  • Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois is removed from the stage by SQ officers as she speaks to supporters in Montreal, Tuesday, September 4, 2012 following her election win. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

  • Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois is whisked off stage as she delivered her victory speech in Montreal, Que., Tuesday, September 4, 2012. With the win, Marois becomes the first female premier in Quebec history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

  • (RDI screenshot)

  • (RDI screenshot)

  • Police detail a person behind the Métropolis concert hall where Pauline Marois was making her victory speech (RDI screen shot)

  • Fire burns outside Montreal's Métropolis concert hall shortly after the shooting. (QMI)

  • Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois returns to complete her speech after being whisked off the stage by security as she delivered her victory speech in Montreal, Que., Tuesday, September 4, 2012. With the win, Marois becomes the first female premier in Quebec history.

  • Police cordon off the rear outside an auditorium where a gunman shot and killed at least one person during the PQ victory rally Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in Montreal. Guards whisked PQ leader Pauline Marois off the stage as handlers informed the partisan crowd there had been an explosive noise and they needed to clear the auditorium. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

  • Police and fireman work at the rear of an auditorium where a gunman shot and killed at least one person during the PQ victory rally Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

  • Police cordon off the rear outside an auditorium where a gunman shot and killed at least one person during the PQ victory rally Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in Montreal. Guards whisked PQ leader Pauline Marois off the stage as handlers informed the partisan crowd there had been an explosive noise and they needed to clear the auditorium. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

  • Police work on a crime scene outside the Metropolis in Montreal on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

  • A police officer looks towards a black SUV that has had its contents removed at a crime scene outside the Metropolis in Montreal on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)


Loading Slideshow...
  • Bob Rae

  • Rathika Sitsabaiesan

  • Steve Paikin

  • Patrick Morrell

  • Leslie Stojsic

  • Steve Paikin

  • Evan Solomon

  • Roberto Rocha

  • John Wintermeyer

  • danielle scremin

  • Elizabeth May MP

  • Addy Musuku

  • Pam Gilroy-Rajotte

  • Christopher DeWolf

  • Patrick Beatty

  • Adam Goldenberg

  • Adam Goldenberg

  • Don Martin

  • Michael Ivey

  • Stefan Oliver Keyes

  • Steffani Cameron

  • Nathan Cullen


live blog

Oldest Newest

Users on Twitter are speculating that the gun used in the attack may have been a CZ 858, a semi-automatic weapon modeled after the AK-47 and legal in Canada.

Share this:

Share this:

Premier-designate Pauline Marois says the shooting at the PQ victory party Tuesday night in Montreal was not a reflection of Quebec society.

"Never, never will I accept that Quebec is associated with violence," Marois told a news conference Wednesday.

"It is an isolated event and it does not represent who we are... Quebec is not a violent society. One act of folly cannot change this." (CP)

Share this:

Premier-elect Marois says she will cancel the proposed tuition hikes which helped spark weeks of student protests earlier this year in Quebec. She will also cancel Bill 78, the much-maligned bill that gave police greater powers during the student unrest.

Marois also says she will form her cabinet within the next two weeks.

Other priorities for her new PQ government include expanding/strengthening Bill 101 language laws and working with Ottawa on the gun registry and looking at an increase on resource royalties.

Share this:

Marois insisted that she return to the stage after being escorted off by her bodyguards. "There were at least 2,000 people there. What if those people panicked," she said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. She urged the crowd to exit the building calmly and slowly.

"I didn't know at that moment, outside, that there was a man who had been killed," she told the press conference.

She added that she never felt unsafe during the shooting but did not know that the man had been killed until after she left the building.

Share this:

The victim in last night's deadly shooting has been ID'd as Denis Blanchette, a 48-year-old freelance technician who worked at the venue.

Share this:

Richard Henry Bain, the suspect in last night's shooting runs a fishing and outdoors business near Mont Tremblant.

Police say they seized an AK-47 and a handgun last night.

Share this:
Share this:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has released a statement on last night's events:

“I was angered and saddened to hear of last night’s horrific shooting at the Parti Quebecois event at Metropolis.

“It is a tragic day where an exercise of democracy is met with an act of violence.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim and wish the person injured a swift and complete recovery.

“This atrocious act will not be tolerated and such violence has no place in Canada. Canadians can rest assured that the perpetrator of last night’s events will face the full force of the law.”

Share this:
@ PMO_MacDougall : We are deeply concerned with the violence that occurred and our thoughts are with the victims and their families. #Qc2012

Share this:

liberals quebec

The federal Liberals held a moment of silence before kicking off the second day of their caucus retreat. (Althia Raj)

The Liberals also released a statement that addressed last night's events:

“I was deeply shocked and disturbed to learn about the shootings that took place during Quebec Premier-elect Pauline Marois’ victory speech. We are extremely saddened by these senseless acts of violence, and congratulate the police and security forces for doing their work in the most difficult of circumstances. There is never an excuse or justification for acts of violence in Canadian society.

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our Parliamentary caucus, I extend my thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families.”

Share this:

HuffPost blogger Jo Perron-Simpson comments on last night's events:

"This is the moment where one needs to pause, not the moment to start pointing fingers at whomever or whatever. It is the moment where we must stop, take a step back from the electoral fervor, forget our political and historic baggage to mourn the death of an innocent man who was only doing his job, who wasn't even there for a political rally, but simply to earn a living.

I am not writing this to explain the unexplainable, I am writing this to ask for the people of Quebec's discernment and especially it's compassion. We cannot let this event divide us, we cannot let this man be right. Let us do the opposite, I beg you."

Share this:

"This morning I had the tough task of waking up my wife to tell her what had happened last night because she went to sleep before the speeches started. Every politician in this country is now thinking about security in a way that we haven't before. But I think that it is important for us all to remember that we cannot be hijacked in our desire to serve by someone with a gun."

Share this:

He later added this statement:

"We have long been a peacable kingdom for the most part. We’ve had very few acts of political violence. We are not a society where these things are ever celebrated or condone and they should never be. I do think that it is important for Canadians to continue to work hard on the reasons why we are together as a country, we are together as a family. And no political agenda, whether it is identity, or whether it is about economic concerns or social concerns of any kind, can never be a justification for extremism or a justification for violence. And I think it is very very important for all of us to remember that. And I think certainly, all of us in public life have an obligation to remember it, it terms of the language that we use, in terms of the demands that we make, in terms of our understanding in terms of what we owe each other, we owe each other respect. We owe each other respect. And that applies to the federation, that applies to each one of us as individuals, and there can never be an excuse or justification for violence."

Share this:

Share this:

Police spokesmen on CBC News this morning said that they will be monitoring comments on social media, referencing even "jokes" that appear on sites like Twitter.

Share this:

Premier Jean Charest, who lost the election to the PQ, is expected to address his cabinet then reporters later today. He will be meeting with his caucus some time this week

Share this:

When she assumes power, Pauline Marois brings to 5 the number of women leading Canadian provinces and territories. It's a historical precedent, though likely overshadowed by the night's tragic events.

Share this:

According to our Quebec election riding tracker, the PQ won 54 seats, the Liberals 50, the CAQ 19 and Quebec Solidair 2

Share this:

According to the Montreal Gazette, footage showed a high-powered rifle, which Twitter users identified as an AK-47 or Valmont Hunter weapon. Police did not confirm this.

Share this:

CBC reports that the victim, who pronounced dead at the scene, was a man in his 40s and that a second man was critically injured in the attack.

Share this:

Share this:
Share this:
Share this:
@ SPVM : Important - Event at Metropolis: a person is deceased. More informations will follow shortly. #Qc2012

Share this:

2 injured critically.. 1 arrest.. Shot fired behind the convention centre where Marois was giving her victory speech. A man about 50-years fired on people inside the Metropolis. Then the suspect set fired to the back of the Metropolis.

Share this:
@ SPVM : Regarding the event that just happened at Metropolis : 2 people injured and 1 person arrested. More info will follow shortly. #Qc2012

Share this:

Regarding the event that just happened at Metropolis : 2 people injured and 1 person arrested. More info will follow shortly.

Share this:

Marois was rushed off stage by her officer detail during her speech. A PQ official said the move was triggered by the firing of a starter pistol or blank. Marois returned to stage to tell the crowd to file out slowly and carefully.

Share this:

Listen to me carefully. As a nation, we want to make the decisions about the things that are important to us. We want a country. And we will have it. So yes, we will have relationships and we will do this in respect of the other.. I say to our neighbours in Canada: be open about this.... Quebec needs to become a sovereign country

Share this: