Suspect in PQ victory celebration shooting identified as fishing lodge owner
Published Wednesday, September 5, 2012 8:37AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 5, 2012 9:21PM EDT
The suspect in the deadly shooting that occurred during Quebec premier-elect Pauline Marois' victory speech has been identified as Richard Henry Bain, a fishing lodge owner.
The 62-year-old suspect runs a fishing camp north of Montreal and had recently encountered some bureaucratic roadblocks while trying to expand his business, CTV News has learned.
Bain moved to the predominantly francophone village of La Conception and registered his business in 2009, although records show it was never properly licensed.
Some of those who knew Bain said he was having a tough time expanding his fishing camp into a larger outdoor adventure business and seemed disgruntled.
“He was frustrated that his business wasn’t taking off,” Nicolas Picq told CTV News.
Officials at La Conception’s City Hall said Bain had recently asked the province for permission to take adventurers on hunting expeditions in the area, but the Ministry of Natural Resources said the proposal needed further consideration.
A letter from the ministry requiring Bain to spend money on an environmental study before his proposal could go any further arrived on Tuesday, the day of the shooting, officials said.
La Conception Mayor Maurice Plouffe said he was surprised by the allegations involving Bain. He described him as a tenacious businessman and a tough guy.
Neighbours said Bain was also kind and generous. He often shared freshly caught fish with them and reportedly spent thousands of dollars on a charity auction so that he could meet singer Celine Dion in Las Vegas early this year. A photo of them posing together surfaced in a Quebec newspaper Wednesday.
Police said one man was killed and another was injured when gunfire erupted at the Metropolis concert hall on St. Catherine Street in downtown Montreal, where Marois was celebrating her party's victory late Tuesday night.
CTV Montreal reports that Denis Blanchette, believed to be a freelance technician hired to work at the election-night event, died of his injuries.
The second victim, a 27-year-old man, remains in hospital in stable condition.
Moments after the shooting, cameras captured the arrest of a man in a blue housecoat and a balaclava, who shouted: “The English are waking up,” as police led him away in handcuffs. He spoke in French with an English accent.
Police said Wednesday the suspect was being evaluated at a Montreal hospital as they continue to question him. He is expected to make a court appearance Thursday morning.
When the shooting took place, Marois was delivering what was supposed to be a historic speech as Quebec’s first female premier. Provincial bodyguards had to usher her offstage and the concert hall was evacuated.
Police said the shooter also managed to light a small fire near the venue before trying to flee, but the flame was quickly extinguished.
An assault rifle and a handgun were seized at the scene. The gunman is believed to have acted alone.
Police couldn’t say Wednesday whether Marois was the intended target, but are not ruling out the possibility.
"At this point, we can't establish whether or not, ultimately, the elected premier was a target," said Lt. Guy Lapointe of the Surete du Quebec. "We can't push aside this theory so that's why the (Quebec provincial police) is going to lead this investigation."
Lapointe said police don’t believe Marois is in danger, but wouldn’t comment on any increased security for the politician.
At a news conference Wednesday, Marois urged people not to politicize the shooting, saying it was an isolated event.
"Never, never will I accept that Quebec is associated with violence," she said. “Quebec is not a violent society. One act of folly cannot change this."
In a statement issued to CTV News, the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered condolences to those affected by the shooting.
“We are deeply concerned with the violence that occurred and our thoughts are with the victims and their families,” the statement read.
A vigil was held in Montreal Wednesday night for the victims of the shooting.
With a report from CTV’s Omar Sachedina and files from The Canadian Press