Breaking news stories evolve. Earlier today, the Associated Press and many other outlets announced that the suspects in the Quebec mosque shooting were Moroccan immigrants. This is now being walked back. Only one of the men mentioned earlier today is still being treated as a suspect, and he’s not Moroccan.
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Alexandre Bissonnette is now believed to have carried out the Quebec City mosque massacre alone. Bissonnette is being described as “white,” and he’s believed to be a university student. Bissonnette is believed to have killed six men in the Quebec City mosque late last night.
The 27-year-old Bissonnette was arrested along with Moroccan-Canadian Mohamed el Khadir Sunday night. Both were initially treated as suspects, primarily becasue witnesses described two gunmen shooting inside the mosque.
It now seems that el Khadir is a bystander. He is believed to have been praying at the mosque, and is thought to be one of the first to have called the police.
Bissonnette is being described as a political sciences and anthropology student at Laval University. His fellow students say he was a Trump supporter and a loner.
“He didn’t fit in well at university,” an anonymous student told The Daily Mail.
“Yes, he was conservative in the political sense but despite the profound differences between us, he never showed or suggested that political violence or terrorism was something he was capable of.”
Bissonnette fled the scene in his own car, but later called 911 and offered to turn himself in. He was arrested in Ile d’Orleans 20 minutes after the shooting. Though he had guns in his car, including the AK-47 he is believed to have used in the attack, he surrendered without incident.
The Daily Mail is reporting that a court clerk, Isabelle Ferland, had identified the two men that were arrested. It remains unclear if Mohamed el Khadir is still being held, though he is no longer being treated as a suspect in the shooting.
Despite el Khadir’s presumed innocence, police were still seen searching his apartment Monday.
The presumed guilt of Bissonnette changes the nature of this crime dramatically. While earlier reports tried to reconcile the national origin of the second shooter with some form of radical religious message, the shooting now appears much more clear. Bissonnette’s actions are consistent with homespun violent Islamophobia.