One Canadian soldier is dead and another injured after a man, described by local police as a “radicalized” Muslim, hit them both with his car.
Fox News reports that Quebec provincial police confirmed that one of the two victims of the Monday attack died of his injuries early Tuesday morning. The man’s name is being withheld from news reports at the request of his family.
The attack occurred around noon Monday in the Montreal area. Police told Sun News that the suspect, 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau, ran down two Canadian soldiers with his car, then called 911 and told an operator he was acting in the name of Allah. The incident happened in the parking lot of a car insurance company. Reports indicate only one of the two soldiers was wearing a uniform.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office said the federal government was aware of Couture-Rouleau’s growing radicalization and indicated he was known to the country’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team.
“Federal authorities have confirmed that there are clear indications that the individual had become radicalized,” read a statement from the prime minister’s office. “As Canada's national security agencies have said, Canadians should remain vigilant.”
After hitting the two soldiers with his car, Couture-Rouleau led police on a car chase that ended with him losing control of his vehicle. The car rolled and came to rest on its roof in a ditch on the side of a Montreal highway.
Witnesses told police that the suspect then crawled from his car window wielding a knife. Police shot and killed him.
Nathalie Vanasse was driving by the scene at the time and described what she saw to CBC News.
“I was scared. I started crying,” she said. “I wanted to get out of my car to go help, before the shots were fired … I heard and saw shots being fired — seven shots. I saw a police officer jump to the side to protect himself. That's when I saw the suspect fall to the ground.”
“I heard them (police) shout several times, ‘Get out of the car, get out of the car and raise your hands,’” another witness said. “The man got out and charged towards the policewoman. Then that's when we heard seven gunshots, then the man was on the ground.”
Witnesses reported seeing a long knife, with an ornamental handle, stuck in the ground near where the suspect fell.
“We found a knife on the ground,” said provincial police Sgt. Michel Brunet. “I can't tell you if he had it in his hands at the time.”
“Our thoughts and our prayers are with the victims and the families,” Harper said in the House of Commons Monday afternoon.
“We are following the situation very closely and will make available all of the resources of the federal government,” Harper promised.