SAINT-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, Que. – Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney says Canada is taking terrorist threats seriously after a car struck two soldiers in Quebec, resulting in one of them dying.
“What took place yesterday is clearly linked to terrorist ideology,” Blaney told a news conference in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu on Tuesday.
He said he was “horrified and saddened” by Monday’s attack in the town southeast of Montreal that is home to a military college and a garrison.
“It is an unacceptable act of violence against our country, our Quebec values, our Canadian values.”
Blaney said that as far as he knows no order has been given to members of the Canadian Forces to not wear their fatigues in public.
He offered his condolences to the family of the dead soldier and wished the other one a speedy recovery.
Quebec provincial police announced the soldier’s death Tuesday morning but, at the family’s request, did not release a name.
The second soldier’s injuries were described as less serious, but police were not able to provide an update on the individual’s condition.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement Tuesday to offer his condolences to the slain soldier’s family and friends after what he called a “vicious event.”
“We also offer our prayers for the recovery of the member who was injured,” he said. “I would also like to thank first responders on the scene for their efforts.
“Finally, I want to express that the authorities can count on our full support in order to get to the bottom of this terrible act.”
On Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office said the man who died from police gunfire after he struck the soldiers had “become radicalized.”
“The individual who struck the two CAF members with his car is known to federal authorities, including the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team,” said a statement from Jason MacDonald, Harper’s communications director.
“Federal authorities have confirmed that there are clear indications that the individual had become radicalized.”
Harper was briefed on the incident Monday afternoon by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson; Tom Lawson, the country’s top military commander; and national security adviser Stephen Rigby.
Provincial police said the 25-year-old in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu was known to authorities.
Several media outlets cited law enforcement sources as naming the suspect as Martin Rouleau, though police would not confirm his identity to The Canadian Press.
Provincial police spokesman Guy Lapointe said the shooting occurred after the man hit the two pedestrians in the parking lot of a shopping mall and took off.
That triggered a chase that ended with the man losing control and his car rolling over several times.
Police said Tuesday morning the man was brandishing a knife when he emerged from the car and was shot.