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Lawmakers mark 35th anniversary of deadly 1984 Quebec legislature shooting

Lawmakers observe a minute of silence to mark the 35th anniversary of the attack at the National Assembly that left three dead and 13 injured. Wednesday, May 8, 2018. Jean Vincent Verville/Global News

Quebec lawmakers held a moment of silence today to mark the 35th anniversary of an attack at the provincial legislature that left three dead and 13 injured.

On May 8, 1984, Canadian Armed Forces Cpl. Denis Lortie entered the national assembly armed.

Lortie said he wanted to kill then-premier Rene Levesque and other Parti Québécois members, but the legislature was not sitting that morning, avoiding what could have been a massacre.

READ MORE: Quebec National Assembly shooting remembered after 30 years

Three people were killed — legislature messengers Camille Lepage and Georges Boyer as well as Roger Lefrançois, an employee of Quebec’s chief electoral officer.

Denis Lortie, the suspect of a shooting spree at the Quebec National Assembly in Quebec City, arrives to appear at the Quebec Sessions Court, Wednesday May 9, 1984. (CP Photo/Fred Chartrand)
Denis Lortie, the suspect of a shooting spree at the Quebec National Assembly in Quebec City, arrives to appear at the Quebec Sessions Court, Wednesday May 9, 1984. (CP Photo/Fred Chartrand). Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press

Lortie, who was wearing military fatigues, eventually sat down in the Speaker’s chair.

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That’s when René Jalbert, the sergeant-at-arms and a former soldier himself, entered the chamber and persuaded Lortie to let others pinned down in the chamber leave. He had Lortie follow him to his office and eventually got him to surrender.

The National Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms Rene Jalbert arrives at court with prosecutor George Letendre for Cpl. Denis Lortie’s trial in Quebec City on Jan. 16, 1985. The Canadian Press/Jacques Nadeau
The National Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms Rene Jalbert arrives at court with prosecutor George Letendre for Cpl. Denis Lortie’s trial in Quebec City on Jan. 16, 1985. The Canadian Press/Jacques Nadeau. The Canadian Press/Jacques Nadeau

 

Lortie underwent two trials, pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 1987, and was granted parole in 1995.

Jalbert received the Cross of Valour in November 1984, Canada’s highest decoration for bravery. He died in 1996.