The sword-wielding attacker dressed in medieval costume who killed two people and injured five others in a Halloween rampage on Saturday night in Quebec was “not associated with a terrorist group,” Canadian police said Sunday.
The attacks occurred in multiple locations in the Old Quebec neighborhood, near the tourist hotspot Chateau Frontenac and the National Assembly, the Quebec provincial parliament.
The suspect, who was arrested early Sunday after a manhunt through the streets, is due to make a preliminary court appearance by video-link later in the day.
“Yesterday evening we were plunged into a night of horror when a 24-year-old man, who does not live in Quebec, came with the intention of claiming as many victims as possible,” Quebec City police chief Robert Pigeon told reporters.
“Everything leads us to believe” that the suspect, who was armed with a Japanese-style sword, “chose his victims at random,” Pigeon added.
The police chief said that two of the victims are French people living in Quebec for some years, without specifying whether they were among the dead or injured.
Some of the injured suffered “significant lacerations,” he said.
The suspect, from Montreal, had planned his attack but had no criminal record.
– ‘Barbaric’ stabbings –
“My heart breaks for the loved ones of the two people killed in last night’s horrific attack in Quebec City,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter. “I’m also wishing a full recovery to the injured.”
“All of Quebec is in mourning this morning,” said Quebec deputy premier Genevieve Guilbault, who denounced “barbaric” acts.
According to three witnesses quoted by Quebec newspaper Le Soleil, the attacker allegedly “slit the throat” of his first victim near the Chateau Frontenac hotel, and there was “a lot of blood.”
The man then continued on Rue des Remparts, where the second person was killed, before heading to the Old Port, wounding the other victims, according to the newspaper.
Quebec resident Karin Lacoste said she was going to a convenience store to do some shopping around 11 pm when she saw several armed police officers wearing bulletproof vests.
“There was one who told me ‘run to your home because there is someone walking around, he is a killer and he has killed people,’” she told LCN news channel. “I was really scared.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the streets of Old Quebec were quiet at the time of the attacks.