An armed in front of the Metropolis in Montreal was quickly detained by the authorities after a shooting on Sept. 4, 2012
Credits: MAXIME DELAND/QMI AGENCY
MONTREAL - One man was killed and another was injured Tuesday when a man opened fire outside a Parti Quebecois victory rally at a downtown nightclub, police say.
Police said Wednesday morning they believe the suspect, a 62-year-old man arrested at the scene, acted alone. Cops seized two guns from him and are searching his car for more, police said. They wouldn't comment on a possible motive.
Police said a Molotov cocktail ignited an intense fire at a rear entrance of the Metropolis club as the suspect tried to barge into the building after the PQ won a minority government.
A loud sound could be heard inside the Metropolis around midnight, prompting bodyguards to hustle premier-elect Pauline Marois off the stage during her nationally televised victory speech before hundreds of supporters.
"He entered (the club) through the back and fired gunshots, we don't know how many for now," police spokesman Dany Richer said Tuesday night. "Two people were shot. These two people were transported to hospital."
The 45-year-old man who was killed worked for Solotech, a contractor in charge of assembling and taking down the portable stage and lighting fixtures inside the club. A second Solotech employee was shot. He was in stable condition as of Wednesday morning.
A third man in his 30s was transported to hospital, suffering from shock.
The suspect, a heavy-set man wearing a mask and dark clothing, was led into a police cruiser. He had been subdued by one of Marois' armed bodyguards.
CBC reports he shouted in French at TV cameras: "The English are waking up!"
Marois insisted on returning to the stage after a few minutes to finish her speech before she and her husband were hustled into a limousine.
A line of police officers formed a barrier between bystanders and Quebec's new first couple. Police then ordered everyone to leave the building as they set up a perimeter.
The shooting evoked memories of the deadly shooting inside the Quebec legislature on May 8, 1984, when former Canadian soldier Denis Lortie killed three people and wounded 13.
The shooting made for a bizarre and tragic conclusion to a night that saw Marois win a minority government that might force her to shelve her sovereignty plans for now.
She becomes the first female premier in the province's history and has promised to request an immediate meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. She said she'll demand the federal government repatriate several powers to Quebec in areas of language, culture and employment insurance.
The first two-thirds of her speech was devoted to congratulating supporters and opponents and pledging to be "the premier of all Quebecers." She also spoke briefly in English and told anglophone Quebecers that she represents them, as well.
But when the crowd waved blue and white fleur de lys and chanted "We want a country," she replied "We'll have it," adding that "Quebec's future is to become a sovereign country."
The PQ was elected or leading in 54 of Quebec's 125 ridings with the Liberals a surprise second with 50 seats following predictions that they might be decimated after nine years in power. But Liberal Leader Jean Charest lost his own seat in Sherbrooke to PQ candidate Serge Cardin by 2,800 votes, throwing his 28-year career in doubt.
It was a bitter result that left supporters grim-faced and in shock at a Liberal rally in the town that Charest has represented, at the federal and provincial level, since 1984.
His concession speech included brief comments in English, clearly aimed at English Canada, pointing out that the PQ's march to sovereignty had been halted.
"The result of this election speaks to the fact that Quebec's future lies within Canada," said Charest, one of the faces of the No side in the 1995 referendum campaign.
Then, in a playfully singsong voice that was strained after 35 days on the hustings, he thanked "supporters of the Liberal Party of Quebec who again this evening made the polls lie."
While Liberals were licking their wounds, the centre-right Coalition Avenir Quebec led by former PQ minister Francois Legault was perhaps even more devastated.
The CAQ didn't make the breakthrough many expected and the party trailed in third place with 19 seats, but Legault reminded supporters that the party was only founded last November.
"In only nine months, we succeeded in founding a new political party and in fighting a fierce political battle," Legault told a rally in Repentigny, just east of Montreal.
"The results this evening show that the Coalition for the Future of Quebec is here to stay."
Polls had indicated CAQ support was soft and the surveys also indicated 28% of voters were undecided as of late last week.
The PQ maintained a four-point lead in the polls throughout the 35-day campaign and faced unexpected battles from the Liberals in the beltway surrounding Montreal and suburban Laval.
Nearly two million mainly-francophone voters live in the 450 zone, a reference to the region's area code.