Suspect and victim in PQ shooting ID’d as shockwaves ripple from attack

Alleged shooter runs a hunting and fishing lodge
The Canadian Press
A man is arrested by police after a gunman shot and killed one person and injured another during the Parti Quebecois victory rally in Montreal on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Montreal La Presse - Olivier Pontbriand

MONTREAL – Police are questioning the suspect in the attack at the Parti Quebecois victory celebration, attempting to piece together what motivated the shocking act.

Police sources say the suspect is 62-year-old Richard Henry Bain, the owner of a hunting and fishing lodge in the mountains north of Montreal. The suspect was wearing a housecoat and black facemask when he was tackled by police, and while being whisked away he shouted about an awakening of English-speaking Quebecers.

The victim’s body was carried out from the crime scene Wednesday around noon, about a dozen hours after the shocking events. Authorities wheeled out the covered body of the 48-year-old man, carrying it on a gurney and lifting it into a van.

Around midnight pandemonium swept over what had been a celebration for the newly elected Parti Quebecois. The incident triggered the surreal scene of a victory speech by Pauline Marois being interrupted as she was whisked off the stage by bodyguards.

A shooter had blasted his way into the back of the building, shooting two people and killing one, before setting a fire at the exit.

The suspect has yet to be formally charged.

According to the Facebook page of a Richard Henry Bain, he runs a hunting and fishing lodge near Mont-Tremblant, Que. The website for the camp has since been suspended.

The events have sent shockwaves across the political world, with expressions of condolence and disbelief trickling back from elsewhere in the country.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement saying he was angered and saddened that such an event could happen in the country. There was a moment of silence at an NDP retreat in St. John’s, N.L., and Tom Mulcair, the party leader, said his colleagues were in a state of shock.

The prime minister’s initial phone call to the premier-designate, Marois, touched on the business of government but also on the tragic events.

“(Harper) indicated that such acts of violence are inexcusable and have no place in Canada,” said a summary of the discussion, provided by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The scene of last night’s PQ victory party is now part of a security permieter, a one-block area in Montreal’s downtown sectioned off with orange and blue police tape.

The popular rock band The Offspring had been scheduled to play a show at the venue on Wednesday night. The show has been cancelled.

Around two dozen investigators were still on the scene a dozen hours later. Some were examining a gas canister lying near a GMC truck, believed to be linked to the crime.

During the incident, police confiscated a weapon that carried a resemblance to an AK-47 assault rifle.

Reports say the victim was a sound technician who was working at the Metropolis club Tuesday night. Police sources confirmed the man’s name, Denis Blanchette, but not his employer.