At least five people were killed when gunmen opened fire at a mosque in Quebec City during evening prayers. The number of injured victims has not yet been reported. Approximately 40 people are said to have been at the religious service.
The police reportedlly have arrested two men in connection with the shooting. According to a local newspaper, one of the arrested suspects was 27 years old and had a “Quebecois name.”
Reuters notes that there have been a few incidents during the past few years in Canada where mosques were targeted. In 2013, police investigated after a mosque in Quebec was splattered with what was believed to be pig blood. In neighboring Ontario, a mosque was set on fire in 2015, a day after an attack by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris. And in June 2016, a pig’s head was left on the doorstep of the same Islamic center where tonight’s shooting occurred.
Apparently, though, this was the first time one or more gunmen have targeted worshipers in a Canadian mosque. To my knowledge, this has never happened in the United States.
There is much we don’t yet know about this incident and, as always in cases like this, it’s possible that some of the initial reporting in incorrect.
UPDATE: The latest report is that six people are dead and eight injured. Police say they have captured the two gunmen (initial reports of a third appear to have been wrong).
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard are calling the shootings an act of terrorism. The police are also characterizing them as such. At this point, that seems right.