ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY, TU THANH HA, INGRID PERITZ
Sept. 5, 2012 – Globe and Mail
The man police say opened fire outside the Parti Québécois victory party at midnight, killing a technician and wounding another man, is a trained engineer with a fishing lodge near Mont-Tremblant, says one man who was shocked to see his friend Richard Henry Bain on TV early Wednesday morning.
“I can’t believe he would get to that point,” the man told The Globe and Mail. “He’s a businessman who’s very generous with his time. He’s not a man who needs money.”
Multiple local media reports have identified Mr. Bain, 61, as the suspect being held in custody following the fatal shooting, citing anonymous police sources.
Police records indicate multiple traffic tickets have been issued to Mr. Bain in the Mont-Tremblant area. Montreal police have said the suspect has previous charges for minor traffic offences.
The friend, who knows Mr. Bain from the Mont-Tremblant area, said he’s a devout Christian who reads the bible regularly. The friend believes Mr. Bain has brothers, although he’s never seen the 61-year-old with family.
A Richard Henry Bain is listed as a new member in the July, 2011 newsletter for the Mont-Tremblant Chamber of Commerce. His recreational activities website, which had content posted as recently as early Wednesday, had content progressively deleted; by noon, a note read the account had been suspended.
A Facebook page for “Activités Rick” included promotional photos depicting people fishing in a pastoral setting. But in a statement posted online, the Quebec Federation of Outfitters said it has no record of Mr. Bain possessing required licenses for operating an outfitter.
Around midnight, police say, a man opened fire at the rear of the Metropolis nightclub in Montreal, where Pauline Marois was celebrating the election victory propelling her Parti Québécois to power.
One man, a freelance technician in his 40s, was killed. A spokesman for Local 56 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said he wasn’t a union member. At least one witness identified the man as an employee of Montreal-based Productions du Grand Bambou. A woman answering the phone at Bambou’s office said she can’t confirm anything regarding the shooting.
The second wounded man, 27, was seriously wounded but in stable condition by late Wednesday morning. A third person was hospitalized for shock.
But the carnage could have been worse: A police source told the Globe the suspect’s rifle jammed after the initial shots were fired. Police say the suspect set fire to the building’s exterior before being apprehended by police. Police seized an assault weapon and a handgun at the scene, and have spent much of Wednesday searching a black Yukon near the scene of the shooting. Public records show Mr. Bain leases a 2007 GMC Yukon. An orange gas canister could be seen among several objects outside the car.
The man wore glasses, a black shirt and shorts, a black balaclava and a blue bathrobe.
“Les anglais se réveillent,” he yelled as he was being led away. “The English are waking up.” He appeared as though he would have said more when an officer pulled the suspect’s balaclava back over his mouth and put him in the police vehicle.
The interruption came as a surreal shock to an otherwise exultant room of PQ supporters. Ms. Marois was in the middle of a victory speech, having won a minority mandate that fell short of expectations but which put her party in power after almost a decade of Liberal government. Just as she was beginning the sovereigntist portion of her speech, two security guards abruptly took her by each shoulder and led her off stage left, saying “Go with us, madam!”
After minutes of confusion and one failed attempt to evacuate the room of jubilant but confused supports, Ms. Marois returned to finish her victory speech. She called elected MNAs to join her onstage, promising to live up to electors expectations.
Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Ms. Marois said she had no idea what was going on when her bodyguards led her offstage. She glimpsed a man who’d been shot and saw flames from the fire police say the suspect lit, but was more worried about calming the huge, excited crowd of people inside.
“I was onstage. My bodyguards took me off. I asked questions. I saw a man who had some problem but it didn’t seem major. I saw fire, but they closed the door and everything was under control,” she said. “So I asked my bodyguard to let me back on the stage because I was afraid about the crowd – we were so many. … But I didn’t know at this moment there was a man that had been killed.”
In a statement issued early Wednesday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office, he said: “We are disturbed by this violence and our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones.”
In a statement released late Wednesday morning, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said he’s saddened “by the senseless and cowardly act of violence that resulted in a tragic loss of life.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and with the people of Quebec during this difficult time.”
Jean Charest, the outgoing Quebec premier, says last night’s attack on the Parti Québécois victory party “has sent a shockwave” through the province.
“We’re saddened by what happened last night, It’s a shock,” said Mr. Charest who led Quebec Liberals to defeat in Tuesday’s election.
“Who would have thought something like this could happen, especially on an election night. Our thoughts are with the victims and the family.”
With a report from Rhéal Séguin in Montreal