US & Canada

Quebec election night shooting suspect in murder charge

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Media captionThe BBC's Lee Carter says there was confusion as the shooting took place

A man accused of a deadly shooting at a election victory rally in the Canadian province of Quebec has been formally charged and appeared in court.

Richard Henry Bain, 61, of La Conception, Quebec, faces 16 counts including murder and possession of explosives.

One man was killed outside the hall where Parti Quebecois (PQ) leader Pauline Marois was speaking.

The PQ will form a minority government after nine years in opposition.

Mr Bain is a businessman in the ski resort area of Mont Tremblant, Canadian prosecutors told reporters.

Police have found more than 20 guns linked to Mr Bain, including two at the scene and many more at his home. All but one were properly registered, officials said.


Ms Marois was giving a victory speech in Montreal on Tuesday when shots were heard at the backdoor of the Metropolis concert hall. She was rushed off the stage.

Denis Blanchette, 48, was pronounced dead at the scene. Another unidentified 27-year-old is in a critical condition in hospital but said to be out of danger.

Image caption PQ leader Pauline Marois was hurried off the stage as shots were fired

Both men had been working in the Metropolis concert hall and had tried to stop the gunman, reports said. A third man was taken to hospital in shock.

Prosecutors said that following the shots, the back door of the concert hall was set on fire using a flare and accelerant.

Police acknowledged that the PQ leader had been at risk but said the shots were fired some distance from the stage. Witnesses said the gunman had been less than 25ft (7m) from the stage at one point.

Crown Prosecutor Eliane Perreault told the Canadian broadcaster CBC there was no comment if Ms Marois was herself the target.

"For now, the investigation is going on and we'll see in the future if there's any charge that has to be added to the ones already in the file."

On Tuesday evening, the suspect was heard shouting "The English are waking up" in accented French before adding in English that there would be "payback".

Mr Bain appeared in court on Thursday behind protective glass wearing a white T-shirt, and appeared calm and alert.

His next court hearing is 11 October.

'A tragic day'

The attack marred PQ celebrations after the party claimed 54 of the 125 seats in the primarily French-speaking province, and was set to form a minority government.

Image caption People gathered for a vigil held for the shooting victims on Wednesday evening

Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, said he was "angered and saddened" by the shooting.

"It is a tragic day where an exercise of democracy is met with an act of violence," he added.

Ms Marois, who will become the province's first woman premier, has a list of demands for Mr Harper, including further strengthening of laws to protect Quebec's French language and identity.

The PQ was in a close-run contest with the governing Liberals and a popular new middle-ground party, Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ).

Incumbent Liberal Premier Jean Charest lost his seat in the election.

He announced on Wednesday he was stepping down from his position as party leader and would leave politics.

Turnout was strong with nearly six million people voting in the only majority French-speaking province of Canada to choose 125 members of the national assembly (MNAs).

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