Fri | Apr 28, 2017

Terrorist ideology blamed in car attack

Published:Wednesday | October 22, 2014 | 10:00 AM
A car is overturned in the ditch in a cordoned-off area in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on Monday. One of two soldiers hit by a car died of his injuries early yesterday, according to Quebec provincial police. AP

SAINT-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, Quebec (AP): Terrorist ideology inspired a recent convert to Islam to drive his car into two Canadian soldiers, killing one, before he was shot dead by police, authorities said yesterday.

Quebec Police spokesman Guy Lapointe said the act was deliberate and that one of the two soldiers was in uniform. Lapointe said there were no other suspects at this time.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney called the attack a "terrible act of violence against our country, against our military and against our values" and "clearly linked to terrorist ideology".

Police identified the dead military member as Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, 53.

An official who spoke on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorised to speak publicly about the case, said the suspect was Martin Couture Rouleau, 25.

Rouleau was known to authorities and recently had his passport seized, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said.

"He was part of our investigative efforts to try and identify those people who might commit a criminal act travelling abroad for terrorist purposes," Paulson said.

Paulson said he was one of 90 suspected extremists in the country, who intend to join fights abroad or who have returned to Canada.

There was no answer at Rouleau's single-storey white brick home in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, yesterday morning, and no sign of police.

Radicalised

Neighbour Daniel Fortin said he had known Rouleau, who lived with his father, since he was a child. Fortin said over the past year or so, Rouleau grew out his beard and began wearing loose-fitting Muslim clothing but that he never felt threatened by him.

Fortin said Rouleau's father was worried as he became increasingly radicalised and "tried everything" to help him.

Another neighbour, who declined to be named, said she didn't know the family well but saw police visit the home on more than one occasion over the past few months.

Lapointe said the suspect was sitting in his car in the parking lot outside a veterans' support centre for at least two hours before the hit-and-run.

He said a police officer on patrol witnessed what happened and immediately gave chase.

The suspect was pursued by police for about four kilometres (2.5 miles) before he lost control of the car, which rolled over several times.

Lapointe said the man was brandishing a knife when he emerged from the vehicle. Police then opened fire.