QUEBEC CITY — Mental health is a major security concern, said Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume after a man in his 20s went on a stabbing spree in the provincial capital Halloween night that killed two people and injured five.
“There needs to be solidarity,” he said in a news briefing Sunday morning. “This tragedy adds to our collective mental load from the pandemic, we will do everything necessary to deal with the psychological consequences of tragedy.”
Labeaume sat alongside Quebec deputy premier Genevieve Guilbault and Quebec City police chief (SPVQ) Robert Pigeon Sunday with an update on the events.
Pigeon considers the attack premeditated, and says that the 24-year-old suspect is from Montreal’s North Shore. The suspect was taken to a local hospital for evaluation, but no information was released about his condition. Charges are expected Sunday, Pigeon said.
“I was devastated when I heard about this tragedy last night,” said Guilbault recalling the Quebec City mosque attack just under four years ago. “It reminded us all of the tragedy on the 29th of January, 2017, when six of our people in Quebec City died.”
Labeaume is calling for a debate in the National Assembly on mental health and also recalled the 2017 mosque terror attacks.
“I feel like I’m in 2017 again,” he said.
NIGHT OF HORROR
Calls came into the police around 10:30 p.m. about a costumed assailant stabbing multiple people with a Japanese Katana sword near the National Assembly in Quebec City’s historic district. Police arrived and began searching for the suspect with K-9 units assisting.
Quebec City police spokesperson Etienne Doyon did not give any information on the two people who were killed and would not speculate on a possible reason for the attack other than “personal reasons” and not related to any terror attacks.
Pigeon said Sunday that the suspect made threats of violence in 2014 “in a medical context.”
Pigeon said some of the five injured people suffered serious stab wounds, but that their lives are not in danger.
The police chief added that charges are expected Sunday, and that the suspect had no previous criminal record.
The SPVQ put out a call to the population to contact the force at 418-641-AGIR with any information about the events.
NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE TRAGEDY
Politicians at all levels took to Twitter after the attack voicing their horror at the events.
Premier Francois Legault took to Twitter saying, “Quebec wakes up after a night of horror. I do not have the words to describe such a tragedy.”
“My heart breaks for the loved ones of the two people killed in last night’s horrific attack in Quebec City,” wrote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Twitter. “I’m also wishing a full recovery to the injured. We’re keeping you in our thoughts and will be there for you. To all the first responders, thank you for your critical work.”
— with reporting from The Canadian Press.