Sherbrooke man accused of threatening mosques, mayor

Police in Sherbrooke arrested a 57-year-old man early Thursday morning after a series of threatening 911 calls targeting the city's mayor and its mosques.

Arrest comes amid heightened concern following attack on Quebec City mosque

Sherbrooke Mayor Bernard Sévigny and Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume had to be hustled out of a hockey game by Sherbrooke police after threats made in a 911 call. (Sherbrooke Phoenix)

Police in Sherbrooke arrested a 57 year-old man early Thursday morning after a series of threatening 911 calls targeting the city's mayor and its mosques.

The arrest comes amid heightened concern following the deadly attack on a Quebec City mosque last month. Montreal police have noted a rise in hate speech complaints since the shooting.

Mayor Bernard Sévigny told Radio-Canada the drama began Wednesday night as he was taking in a hockey game between Sherbrooke Phoenix and the Quebec Remparts.

Sévigny was in a private box with several guests, including Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume.

"During the second intermission, police came into the private box and asked us all to leave," Sévigny said.

He said officers told him that they'd received a specific threat targeting him and his entourage in a 911 call, and that they wanted to check the box for a suspicious package.

Sévigny and his guests were hustled out of the arena while the game continued. The search turned up nothing.

Suspect threatened mosque

Sherbrooke police spokesperson Martin Carrier told Radio-Canada the threatening 911 calls continued through the night.

Sherbrooke police hustled mayor Bernard Sévigny and his guests out of a private box at the Léopold-Drolet sports palace Wednesday night after a threatening 911 call. (Radio-Canada)
Police were able to track the calls to the residence of a 57-year-old man.

Carrier said as officers arrived to make the arrest, they interrupted the man making yet another call.

"Officers overheard him making threats against mosques in Sherbrooke," Carrier said.

He said fought back against officers before being taken into custody.

Carrier said investigators don't believe the man intended to follow through on his threats.

The suspect is expected to appear in court Thursday afternoon.

"It's alarming whenever something like this happens, and when you''re personally the subject of a threat it's even more surprising," Sévigny said.

Sévigny said there would be heightened police surveillance of mosques in Sherbrooke over the next few days.