Quebec mosque shooting: Vigils held across Canada after 'lone wo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Quebec mosque shooting: Vigils held across Canada after 'lone wolf' kills 6

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(CNN) -

The gunman came during evening prayers.

Worshipers had gathered at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center when the suspect stepped into the mosque on Sunday around 8 p.m.

Witnesses said the gunman fired indiscriminately into the crowd of worshipers, which included men, women and children.

    Six men were killed: Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Azzeddine Soufiane, 57; and Ibrahima Barry, 39.

    They were shot in the back as they gathered for evening prayers, Mohamed Labidi, the vice president of the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center told the CBC.

    Five wounded people remained hospitalized Monday, said a spokeswoman for Hôpital de l'Enfant-Jésus. The National Police of Quebec said 39 others inside the mosque were not hurt.

    Authorities have not released a possible motive, but police are investigating the attack as an act of terrorism.

    The same mosque had been targeted last year when it received a wrapped pig's head and a magazine with a pig on its cover, saying "Bonne Appetit," according to a post on its Facebook page. The Quebec Islamic Cultural Center had alerted the police, which opened an investigation, it had said on Facebook then.

    Shocked by the mosque attack, Canadians held candlelight vigils in cities including Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Calgary, to grieve for the victims and send a message of unity.

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended a candlelight vigil near the mosque where the attack had occurred. He carried a bouquet of flowers and addressed the community.

    "We stand with you," he said Monday night. "We love you. We support you. We will always defend and protect your right to gather together to pray, today and everyday."

    The province's premier, Philippe Couillard also sought to reassure Muslims after the attack.

    "We are with you," he said. "This is your home. You're welcome here. We're all Quebecers."

    Alexandre Bissonnette, who is accused of the mosque attack, faces six counts of first-degree murder and five attempted murder charges, according to the Quebec Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

    Police initially said two gunmen had attacked the mosque, but later concluded that the second person was a witness. Canadian Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale characterized Bissonnette as a "lone wolf" and said the attack would have been difficult to prevent.

    Bissonnette had lived near the mosque, the CBC reported. He was a student at Laval University in Quebec City, according to the school. He was previously unknown to police and had not been on any watch lists, authorities said.

    Between 2002 and 2004, Bissonnette also participated in the Cadet Program, a nationwide youth program affiliated with the Canadian Armed Forces that focuses on developing skills such as leadership and citizenship, said Maj. Doug Keirstead, spokesman for the Canadian Armed Forces.

    "Cadets are not members of the Canadian Armed Forces and they do not receive military training," Keirstead said.

    Bissonnette remains in custody.

    On Monday night, a procession of candle-holding marchers spilled quietly into the snow-packed streets during a vigil and a gathering at the mosque.

    Mary Christine Miller, 31, who lives not far from another mosque, struggled to understand why the attack happened.

    "Why?" she said. "They didn't do anything to us, they were just praying."

    Two young women stopped as many people as they could and asked mourners if they wanted pins that said "Welcome to all refugees," in French on the top of the pin.

    Participants said they came to support the city's Muslim residents.

    The Quebec Islamic Cultural Center thanked supporters for "hundreds of messages of compassion coming from all over" on its Facebook page. It also posted pictures and videos from Monday's events.

    In honor of the victims of the mosque shooting, the Eiffel Tower turned off its lights at midnight Tuesday.

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