Quebec City stabbing suspect facing multiple charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder

A 24-year-old man has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder in connection with a stabbing attack in Quebec City on Halloween night.

Earlier on Sunday, police identified the suspect as Carl Girouard of Ste-Therese, which is located about 30 minutes north of Montreal.

Two of the victims who lost their lives were identified by the province's coroner's office as 56-year-old Francois Duchesne and 61-year-old Suzanne Clermont. Five other people were injured, some seriously, in the attack, but police say they’re expected to survive.

During a Sunday news conference, Quebec City police (SPVQ) Chief Robert Pigeon said he considers the attack premeditated. He added that the suspect made threats of violence in 2014 "in a medical context," but that the suspect had no previous criminal record.

The suspect was taken to a local hospital for evaluation after his arrest, but no information was released about his condition.

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

Police says calls started coming in around 10:30 p.m. about a costumed assailant in "medieval" garb 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.

In a tweet, police asked residents to stay in their homes while they searched the Parliament Hill area of the city. Shortly before 1 a.m., a suspect was apprehended near the city's Old Port.

Quebec City police spokesperson Etienne Doyon would not speculate Saturday night on a possible reason for the attack other than "personal reasons" and that it’s not related to any terror attacks. 

The SPVQ has put out a call to residents to contact the force at 418-641-AGIR with any information about the events.

'MY HEART BREAKS'

Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume called for solidarity during the news conference.

"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 is calling for a debate in the National Assembly on mental health and also recalled the 2017 mosque attack.

"I feel like I'm in 2017 again," he said.

Quebec Deputy Premier Genevieve Guilbaul said she was devastated by the stabbing, calling it a “tragedy.”

"It reminded us all of the tragedy on the 29th of January, 2017, when six of our people in Quebec City died." 

Premier Francois Legault tweeted, "Quebec wakes up after a night of horror. I do not have the words to describe such a tragedy."

Le Québec se réveille après une nuit d’horreur. Les mots me manquent pour décrire une telle tragédie. J’offre toutes mes condoléances aux proches des victimes. La vice-première ministre @GGuilbaultCAQ fera le point avec le maire Labeaume et le chef du @SPVQ_police à 9h30 ce matin

— François Legault (@francoislegault) November 1, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also shared a message on Twitter.

"My heart breaks for the loved ones of the two people killed in last night’s horrific attack in Quebec City," Trudeau wrote. "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."

To the people of Quebec City, and to all Quebecers: Canadians across the country are with you. Our hearts go out to the families of François Duchesne and Suzanne Clermont, and to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. https://t.co/3Cxgxdh48z

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 1, 2020

Canada's other federal leaders also offered their condolences via social media.

La belle cité de Québec qui nous est si chère est ce matin endeuillée et assombrie par un épouvantable drame.
Votre choc est partagé par toutes et tous.
Nos pensées vous accompagnent ainsi que nos vœux de courage.@villequebec @cyblesoleil @JdeQuebec https://t.co/u1lb0xNlzS

— Yves-F. Blanchet ��⚜️ (@yfblanchet) November 1, 2020

Rebecca and I were saddened to hear about the events that took place last night in Quebec City. Our thoughts are with the victims, those injured and their loved ones. We’re thankful for the work of first responders. https://t.co/r5JRuwZjDz

— Erin O'Toole (@erinotoole) November 1, 2020

It's hard to comprehend the senseless violence that occurred in Quebec City, last night.

My thoughts are with friends and family who lost loved ones.

For the injured, I wish for a speedy recovery and I express gratitude for the courage of first responders.

— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) November 1, 2020  

On Sunday afternoon, a small vigil was held outside Clermont's home. Around 15 people gathered to lay flowers near her doorstep. 

Carol Proulx, co-owner of a clothing store located near the stabbings, said he knew Clermont as the hairdressing salon where she worked is located near his business. Proulx described her as a "nice lady."

Proulx said he also knew Duchesne, who worked as director of communications for the Musee des Beaux-Art du Quebec. He described Duchesne as "someone who was well liked by the people he worked with."

According to his LinkedIn page, Duchesne also served as a board member of Operation Nez Rouge, the holiday season ride-giving service, for 15 years. 

"We knew them both. It affects us," said Proulx. "Quebec is a beautiful, big city, but it's also a small village. It doesn't take long for you to run into someone who knows someone you know."

Lucie Painchaud, a neighbour of Clermont's, also described her as "nice," adding that she and her husband Jacques were "a beautiful couple."

"She liked to read novels. She read them all the time, she talked about it all the time. She also loved to travel."

HERE IS A LIST OF MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES IN QUEBEC

If ever you need help, don't hesitate to reach out to:

Your family doctor (if you have one)
Your local CLSC, CISSS or CIUSSS: 811
AMI-Quebec: 514-486-1448
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA): 514-521-4993
Centre Interligne Inc.: (for issues related to sexual orientation): 514-866-0103
Depressives Anonymous: 514-278-2130
Groupe d'entraide pour un mieux-être: (GEME): 450-332-4463
Quebec Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation: 514-727-0012
Société québécoise de la schizophrénie: 514-251-4000 x3400
Suicide Action Montreal: 1 866 277 3553
Suicide Prevention Service: 1 866 APPELLE
Veterans Affairs Canada: 1 800 268-7708
If you need immediate assistance, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.

-- with reporting from The Canadian Press.

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