OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police on Wednesday said the suspect who allegedly shot dead a person outside a victory rally for the separatist Parti Quebecois is the owner of a hunting-outfitting business.
A police source confirmed Quebec media reports that Richard Henry Bain, aged 61 or 62, was being held in custody after the Tuesday night shooting, which took place as Quebec’s new premier-designate, Pauline Marois, was addressing jubilant supporters.
Police said they have no motive for the shooting, and no evidence that the shooter had accomplices.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the name of the suspect has not yet been formally released.
Bruno Beaulieu, a spokesman for the Quebec police force, said the suspect may appear in court on Wednesday night or Thursday.
“We don’t reveal the criminal background of someone. But in this case I‘m going to tell you this is not a well-known person to police services,” Montreal spokesman Ian LaFreniere said on CTV Television.
Television footage showed a man wearing a black balaclava and what appeared to be a blue bathrobe over black clothing as police bundled him into a vehicle.
Police would not confirm media reports that an AK47 assault rifle was found at the crime scene. Television images showed police removing an assault rifle from the suspect’s hands.
“The English are waking up,” the suspect said, in French, as the police took him away.
Marois, whose party won a minority in Tuesday’s election, had promised to strengthen laws designed to ensure the dominance of the French language, which has worried some in the minority English-speaking community.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Marois downplayed the possibility of political motives for the shooting. She said she never feared for her own security and called the incident “profoundly sad” for Quebec.
“I believe it was an isolated incident and it doesn’t represent who we are,” she said.
Reporting by Randall Palmer, Louise Egan, Alex Paterson and Leila Lemghalef; Editing by Janet Guttsman and Cynthia Osterman