SAINT-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, Que. — Police say a car was driven deliberately into two soldiers, killing one of them in what Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney called an act of violence against Canada that was “clearly linked” to terrorist ideology.
Blaney said Tuesday that Canada is taking terrorist threats seriously, adding he was “horrified and saddened” by Monday’s incident in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
“What took place yesterday is clearly linked to terrorist ideology,” he told a news conference 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.”
Quebec provincial police announced the soldier’s death Tuesday morning and later identified him as Patrice Vincent, a 53-year-old warrant officer. No other details about Vincent were released in the police tweet.
In the Commons, however, Prime Minister Stephen Harper praised Vincent as a 28-year veteran who served with distinction across the country.
“This was a despicable act of violence that strikes against not just this soldier and his colleagues, but frankly against our very values as a civilized democracy,” Harper said.
“We will continue to stand with the men and women of the Armed Forces who defend us against these threats.”
Provincial police described the second soldier’s injuries as less serious and said his life was not in danger.
Lt. Guy Lapointe told a separate news conference Tuesday that the act was deliberate and that one of the two soldiers was in uniform.
Earlier, 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.
Harper also 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.”
On Tuesday, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said the Mounties are investigating with Quebec provincial police to “get a full understanding of the breadth and the sort of reach this individual might have had into other areas.”
He said he does not suspect the slain man had co-conspirators.
“We don’t suspect that, but we’re open to that and we’re concerned about that, so we’re going to be pursuing every investigative avenue to satisfy ourselves that we’ve eliminated that possibility,” he told reporters after an appearance before the House of Commons house affairs committee.
And Paulson confirmed the man was one of 90 suspected extremists the RCMP believed were intending to join fights abroad or who have returned to Canada.
“That’s what follows from the analysis; his passport was seized by us …”
“He was part of our investigative efforts to try and identify those people who might commit a criminal act travelling abroad for terrorist purposes. In that respect, we were working him and other suspects, and we need to let the investigation now proceed, and pursue and satisfy everyone.”
Provincial police also 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.
Lapointe refused to give out the name on Tuesday, citing the need for the coroner to formally identify him.
On Monday, he 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.
Lapointe said the man was brandishing a knife when he emerged from the vehicle.