PQ leader Pauline Marois speaks with her security after being whisked off-stage due to a shooting incident where she was giving a victory speech in Montreal, Sept. 4, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
Lieut. Guy Lapointe of the provincial police force said a 62-year-old man dressed in black and wearing a dark cape might have been trying to kill Marois when he barged into a downtown nightclub and opened fire just before midnight.
QMI Agency has learned the suspect is a fishing-lodge owner named Richard Henry Bain.
"At this stage of the investigation, it is impossible to exclude the possibility that the person who was targeted was the premier-elect," Lapointe told reporters Wednesday near the Metropolis club where the shooting occurred.
"About 15 witnesses have been met by investigators."
Bain has no criminal record. He was taken to hospital Wednesday morning with breathing problems and police said they had not had a chance to interview him.
A friend of Bain's, who didn't give his name, said Bain owns a fishing lodge in La Conception, Que., about two hours north of Montreal.
The website boasts of a "crystal clear lake, surrounded by towering pines" that's "stocked with trout for exceptional fishing."
The friend said Bain has recently been seeing a doctor in Montreal to deal with mental issues.
Police maintained a security perimeter Wednesday around a black SUV near the Metropolis club, and a large red gas canister could be seen next to the vehicle.
Police said the suspect opened fire as he tried to enter the back of the club while Marois was concluding her remarks following a minority election victory for the Parti Quebecois.
The gunman shot two men, set fire to the rear entrance and was tackled and arrested, police said. An automatic weapon was seized, along with another firearm.
Inside, bodyguards hustled Marois off the stage during her nationally televised speech before hundreds of supporters.
Marois told a news conference Wednesday that she had not been informed of any threats during the campaign and didn't immediately realize a man had been killed Tuesday.
"I am deeply saddened today," she said. "Election night...was overshadowed by a tragic event. A man died for no reason. Madness struck."
The dead man was a 45-year-old stage technician who worked for the nightclub. Police have not identified him but his nephew, Sebastien Bourgeault, said his uncle tried to stop the gunman and prevented further carnage.
"He died as a hero for the premier," Bourgeault told QMI Agency on Wednesday. "He left behind his daughter, his little three-year-old daughter. I hope the premier recognizes this and that there will be gestures to thank him for all this."
A second stagehand, aged 26, was shot and a third man was treated for shock.
- With files from Daniel Renaud
CANADIAN POLITICAL VIOLENCE
April 7, 1868
Montreal MP Thomas D'Arcy McGee, a Father of Confederation, is gunned down in Ottawa. James Patrick Whelan, a tailor, is tried, convicted and hanged for the murder.
FLQ terrorists kidnap Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte and British trade representative James Cross. Laporte is later found murdered and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invokes the War Measures Act, suspending civil liberties and sending troops to Montreal and Ottawa.
May 8, 1984
Disgruntled ex-soldier Denis Lortie walks into the Quebec legislature and opens fire with a sub-machine gun, killing three people and wounding 13.
April 20, 1995
A pipe bomb detonates outside the Prince Edward Island legislature, injuring a bystander who was struck by shrapnel.
Eighteen Muslim-Canadian men and youths are arrested after police say they uncovered a plot to storm Parliament, behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper and explode bombs near the CN Tower, the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Pickering, ON. nuclear plant.