WATCH: Soldier Patrice Vincent was killed on Canadian soil, in an apparent act of homegrown terrorism. The suspect was known to police and had his passport seized to stop him from travelling to Syria. Mike Le Couteur has the story.
TORONTO – Twenty-five-year-old Martin Rouleau, the now-deceased suspect in a deadly hit-and-run that killed one soldier and injured a second, was one of 90 people being monitored for potential terrorist activity and had his passport seized by RCMP.
“What took place yesterday is clearly linked to terrorist ideology, and that’s why we’re offering the support of the INSET (Integrated National Security Enforcement Team) in the investigation,” said Steven Blaney Tuesday morning. “This is a terrible act of violence against our country, against our military, against our values.”
Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is supporting the investigation, citing national security implications.
“There is reason to believe the event was the violent expression of an extremist ideology promoted by terrorist groups with global followings,” said spokesperson Tahera Mufti in a statement. “That something like this would happen in a peaceable Canadian community like Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu shows the long reach of these ideologies.”
Blaney added the security situation had been monitored for “several weeks” and that RCMP would be providing an update later Tuesday.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson later said the suspect was one of 90 being monitored in an ongoing national security investigation.
He said he does not suspect the slain man had co-conspirators.
“We don’t suspect that, but we’re open to that and we’re concerned about that, so we’re going to be pursuing every investigative avenue to satisfy ourselves that we’ve eliminated that possibility,” he told reporters after an appearance before the House of Commons house affairs committee.
WATCH: RCMP explain the process that led to twenty-five-year-old Martin Rouleau’s passport being seized. Rouleau is the now-deceased suspect in a deadly hit-and-run that killed one soldier and injured a second.
Quebec Provincial Police (QPP) officers are conducting an independent inquiry to determine the sequence of events in the attack, said Lt. Guy Lapointe at a morning press conference. He said the RCMP INSET team is simultaneously investigating motives that may have prompted the suspect’s attack.
“Right now the working thesis is that it was a deliberate act… The investigation is starting I can’t go into detail,” said Lapointe, who added anyone with information can contact investigators at 1-800-659-4264.
Geneviève Guilbault from the Quebec coroner’s office confirmed to Global News that the deceased soldier is 53-year-old Patrice Vincent.
The second soldier’s injuries were described as less serious and authorities are not concerned for his life.
Police said the suspect was waiting in a car up to two hours in a parking lot of a Service Canada office located in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, before slamming it into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members.
Following the attack the suspect fled in his car and was chased by police for roughly four kilometres from the original scene at the corner of Schubert and Du Séminaire Streets, until the man lost control of the vehicle and it rolled over several times into a ditch. Quebec Police Lt. Guy Lapointe said the suspect left the car after losing control and had a knife in his hand.
The suspect was shot up to seven times by police according to witnesses, and was pronounced dead Monday evening.
Québec’s Public Security Minister and Deputy Premier Lise Thériault reminded Canadians of the dangers of associating with “someone who is radicalized” such as suspect Martin Rouleau, who was known for his posts on social media.
“People who’ve seen these kind of comments made on social networks are invited to contact the police,” said Thériault. “Instructions were given two weeks ago to members of the QPP and directors of provincial police forces, so that if there are potential threats we can investigate them.”
With files from Global Montreal and The Canadian Press