Soldier dies, man killed by police, following hit and run in St. Jean
One of two soldiers hit by a car in St. Jean sur Richelieu has died of his injuries. Police identified him on Tuesday as 53-year-old Patrice Vincent.
The second soldier run down by a car on Monday morning in St. Jean remains in hospital.
As the second victim recovers, police continue to investigate Martin Rouleau-Couture, his history, and what led to the car crash and subsequent chase that ended in his death.
The incident began at 11:40 a.m. Monday when a car rammed into two soldiers walking in the parking lot of a strip mall in St. Jean sur Richelieu, about 40 kilometres southeast of Montreal.
"I went inside to do a transaction and you see the staff is traumatized from what they saw," said a witness outside the centre.
Rouleau-Couture fled when police arrived, leading to the police chase on Seminaire Blvd.
The 25-year-old local man then lost control of his vehicle and rolled several times, ending up in a ditch four kilometres away from the hit-and-run incident.
Surete du Quebec Lt. Guy Lapointe said the man was shot multiple times by St. Jean sur Richelieu police after threatening officers, and that the officers feared for their lives. They would not confirm reports the man was armed, but did say a knife was found at the scene.
"We found a knife on the ground," he said. "It's still there but I can't tell you if he had it in his hand at that time."
Rouleau-Couture was taken to hospital in critical condition where he died of his injuries.
Provincial police spokesperson Joyce Kemp said it was "really premature" to speculate on any possible motives.
"We've just started the investigation, so it will take a certain time before we can say it was something accidental or deliberate," Kemp said in an interview.
A Facebook page with the name Ahmad Rouleau contains posts about religion, 9/11 and the Quran. Rouleau's neighbours said he had recently undergone a transformation.
"That's my neighbour. He changed over the past year," said the next-door neighbour, who only wanted to be identified as Bruno. "He seemed to become a Muslim, then he was all alone. He was alone - not like before, when he had many friends. It was sad."
"I've seen him in... an Islamic robe or something like that," said another neighbour, Bill Sawka. When asked if he wore a beard, he added, "He may have, yes I've seen that, because I found it odd... there was a change, he used to wear loose jeans."
Stephen Harper's statement
The incident was brought up in the House of Commons on Monday, with the prime minister's office saying Rouleau-Couture was "known to federal authorities, including the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team.
"Federal authorities have confirmed that there are clear indications that the individual had become radicalized," the PMO said in a statement, noting that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was briefed on the situation by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, Chief of Defence Staff General Tom Lawson, and National Security Advisor Stephen Rigby.
"As Canada's national security agencies have said, Canadians should remain vigilant," Harper's office said.
The statement came after a planted question from Conservative MP Randy Hoback in Question Period, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the information surrounding a hit-and-run that ended in a police shooting were "extremely troubling."
"We're closely monitoring the situation and we'll make available all of the resources of the federal government," said Harper.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair also said he believed the government's immediate analysis to be premature.
"I think we need to be extremely careful before drawing conclusions. When (the Hoback question was asked), I said to myself, 'Come on, let the police do their work'," he told a news conference in Ottawa.
With files from The Canadian Press and CTVNews.ca Staff