Emergency alert lifted after Quebec police arrest suspect in St-Elzéar-de-Bonaventure

Quebec provincial police have arrested a suspect who prompted a shelter in place order for a small municipality on the Gaspé peninsula Friday afternoon.

Police working to figure out why alert was sent out to phones across province

A Sûreté du Québec team was deployed to Saint-Elzéar-de-Bonaventure to search for a man who was said to be armed after leaving his home in a state of mental crisis Friday afternoon. (Roxanne Langlois/Radio-Canada)

Quebec provincial police have arrested a suspect who prompted a shelter in place order for a small municipality on the Gaspé peninsula. 

In an alert sent to cell phones on Friday afternoon, authorities told those in the area of St-Elzear-de Bonaventure, Que., in eastern Quebec, to shelter indoors, lock their doors and stay away from windows as they searched for a man considered armed and dangerous.

The Sûreté du Québec said the man being sought was in crisis and was spotted near the corner of Central Road and Route de l'Est.

They had been looking for him since 2:30 a.m. in the community about 640 kilometres northeast of Quebec City. The suspect was not named on Twitter, though the SQ did publish a photo.

A police spokeswoman confirmed the man was armed.

The SQ tweeted late Friday evening that the suspect had been taken into custody and was being interviewed by investigators. Police confirmed the imminent threat had ended, and the alert was cancelled.

Controversy over who got the alert

While people throughout southern Quebec received the emergency alert on their phone, the SQ later clarified on Twitter that the emergency is specific to Saint-Elzéar-de-Bonaventure in the Gaspé region.

However, some in the Gaspé region said they didn't get an alert.

Saint-Elzéar-de-Bonaventure is in northeastern Quebec, roughly 875 kilometres from Montreal. (Google Maps)

The emergency alert was issued by Quebec Alert Ready and ordered by the Ministry of Public Security. Quebec Alert Ready says the alert was sent out to the entire province at 3:24 p.m. Friday with the severity level set to "extreme."

"We are aware that the alert triggered in the Saint-Elzéar-de-Bonaventure sector, in Gaspésie, was heard across the province," the SQ said on Twitter, not two hours after the first alert.

"We are also aware of the inconvenience this may have caused to some. Verifications are underway to determine what caused this issue."

The alert remained in effect for residents of the Saint-Elzéar-de-Bonaventure area until around 9:45 p.m. Saint-Elzéar-de-Bonaventure has a population of about 2,600 residents.

With files from the Canadian Press