Ottawa Shooting: St-Jean-sur-Richelieu reacts
Mosque condemns action of Martin Couture-Rouleau
Residents in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, still in shock over the targeted hit-and-run that killed a Canadian Forces soldier Monday, are waiting cautiously for more information about the shootings in Ottawa today.
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No links have been made between the two incidents.
Both resulted in the deaths of members of the military.
On Monday, Martin Couture-Rouleau, 25, ran down two military personnel in a St-Jean-sur-Richelieu parking lot. He was fatally shot by police after leading officers on a high-speed chase. Police describe him as "radicalized."
It was fresh in the mind of many as details of today's shooting became available.
"It's troubling because I went to school in Ottawa,” said St-Jean-sur-Richelieu resident Emma Dubé.
“It's crazy that these events happened in the same week. We don't really know much right now...the details...but our hearts are with them."
At the commercial parking lot where Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and another member of the military were run down, there's little to show that only two days ago, it was the scene of an attack that horrified the country.
Maxime Poirier, who was in that parking lot Wednesday, said he's struggling to understand the events.
"It makes me scared, especially since it happened in St-Jean. It’s a pretty quiet place here," he said.
"What’s scary is police and military can’t do anything to stop it except ramp-up security. It’s a bit hard to take."
Muslim community in shock in St-Jean
Abdel Hamid Bekkari, who runs the Al-imane Mosque and community centre, told CBC News Couture-Rouleau started attending the mosque a few months ago.
He said Rouleau went to pray a few times a week, but never interacted with him at length.
Bekkari said Rouleau was the only convert at the mosque and that most people who attend are new immigrants from North Africa and not radicals.
He says that the community is distressed by the incident.
“We’re shocked, very shocked. We can’t find the words to see how a person in 2014 can do such bad things like that at others. That’s what I have to say.”
Bekkari says so far no negative incident toward Muslims living in St-Jean have been reported to him. He hopes no one will blame the community for what happened.
Stricter security on military bases
Military institutions in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and across Quebec have increased security.
Members have been instructed not to wear their uniform in public areas except for “operational reasons.”
The St-Jean-sur-Richelieu Garrison has increased its security, adding an extra patrol car to the gate.
“Due to the recent events, we’re being cautious and increasing our force protection posture to ensure the security of all military and civilian personnel at all defence establishments in Quebec,” said Lt. Marco Chouinard, spokesperson for the garrison.