MONTREAL - Marie-Jo remembered Denis Blanchette on Wednesday as someone who willingly filled in for her on a job, even though he had already been working steadily. The father of a young daughter himself, he sympathized when she had to pick up her child at school.

Then the woman, who didn't give her last name, said she went to vote in the election which would be forever marked by her colleague's death.

She bristled at suggestions that the slaying of the man she called her best friend had any political overtones when he was fatally shot by a gunman trying to crash premier-elect Pauline Marois' victory party.

"Stop with the politics, OK?" shouted Marie-Jo at one point to a candlelight vigil Wednesday evening outside the club where Blanchette was killed. "There was nothing political about this. A damned mental case killed my friend."

denis blanchette
A photo of Denis Blanchette from a memorial page on Facebook.

To his friends, Blanchette wasn't a symbol of political violence or tensions between English and French in Quebec.

He was a dedicated father, a rock-steady colleague and a good buddy.

And Wednesday evening those friends — and hundreds who didn't even know the 48-year-old lighting technician — packed a downtown Montreal street to remember him in an act of togetherness that sought to sweep aside the political overtones that tainted the last moments of his life.

Finger-pointing had followed the killing, which also saw another man wounded and an attempt to burn the back of the building where thousands had gathered to celebrate the Parti Quebecois' return to power.

Some people blamed the incident on tensions in the wake of Marois' vows to toughen language laws when a suspect arrested by police proclaimed anglophones were rising up. Others blamed unrest from student protests.

Marie-Jo would have nothing of it.

"He gave his life for $15 an hour." He was a hard worker and proud of it.

Marie-Jo, who worked with Blanchette at Productions des Grande Bambou, described how technicians there are a close knit group, sometimes spending 80 to 90 hours a week with each other.

"We're a family. Today, we've lost a member of our family," she said.

Blanchette was the father of three-year-old daughter who lives in Rouyn-Noranda.

"She lost her father today," Marie-Jo thundered, her anger at the unjust loss wrestling with her obvious grief.

Another friend, who gave no name and pulled a baseball cap low over his face, cracked a beer and took a sip in a toast to his friend before placing it in a sidewalk shrine outside the club where people had laid flowers and other tributes, including technicians' cables.

Despite the feelings of brotherhood, a few people groaned when one of the organizers said he wanted to address them in English near the start of the gathering but that was not a prevalent feeling.

"We are here today, united as a family, crying for what we love — Quebec," said George Stamatis, one of the organizers of the vigil. "Yesterday was a sad night for Quebec.

"We are crying here today because this act does not represent any of our values .... This act does not represent democracy, this act does not represent who we are as Quebecois."

Stamatis, who didn't know Blanchette, helped organize the event via social media. Besides the testimonials, people also observed a moment of silence.

Stamatis, who said he helped organize response teams in the aftermath of a gunman's rampage at Montreal's Dawson College in 2006, said afterward he was stunned when he learned what had happened at the PQ celebration.

"I almost fell off my chair," said Stamatis, who was watching election coverage with a friend. "I couldn't believe it.... I can barely stand thinking about it."

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    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.

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    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)