What we know about the Quebec mosque shooting suspect Alexandre Bissonnette
The Globe and Mail reported that the person suspected of shooting up a mosque in Quebec City on Sunday night is Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old alleged Trump supporter with white nationalist leanings who would often troll a refugee assistance Facebook page.
He was arrested following Sunday's shooting and is charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder, according to the BBC. During his court appearance Monday, the BBC reported that Bissonnette did not enter a plea.
Bissonnette was known online for his white nationalist leaning views
Bissonnette was reportedly well-known online, where he frequently trolled a refugee-support Facebook page and got into arguments with childhood classmates. Vincent Boissoneault, a student at Laval who had known Bissonnette since childhood, told the Mail that they would often get into arguments over politics when Bissonnette would support U.S. President Donald Trump or Le Pen or attack refugees. Boissoneault told the Mail: "I wrote him off as a xenophobe. I didn't even think of him as totally racist, but he was enthralled by a borderline racist nationalist movement."
François Deschamps, who runs a refugee-support Facebook page, told the Mail that he recognized a photo of Bissonnette after his arrest because he would often go on Deschamps' page. "He was someone who made frequent extreme comments in social media denigrating refugees and feminism," Deschamps told the Mail. "It wasn't outright hate. Rather, part of this new nationalist conservative identity movement that is more intolerant than hateful."
Bissonnette reportedly started expressing white nationalist views online after National Front leader Marine Le Pen visited Quebec and inspired him toward "vocal extreme online activism," according to the Mail. The Mail also reported that several traffic tickets issued to Bissonnette were tied to his father's address, but that Bissonnette had no other involvement with police until the shooting.
On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement on the attack, saying "Make no mistake: This was a terrorist attack."
Trudeau's statement also focused on unifying the country:
Canadians will not be broken by this violence. Our sense of spirit and our sense of unity will only strengthen. The people who commit these acts mean to test our resolve and weaken our values. They aim to divide us; to sow discord and plant hatred. We will not close our minds. We will open our hearts.
Nineteen people were wounded at the Quebec City mosque on Sunday. The BBC reported that five were hospitalized and two remain in critical condition.