Contrary to initial reports, a lone wolf named 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette, a white French Canadian, carried out the attack on a Quebec City mosque Sunday night, leaving six people dead and eight wounded.
Fox News and other media outlets earnestly reported Monday morning that the suspect was of Moroccan origin.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 30, 2017
Police did arrest a Moroccan man at the scene, Mohamed el Khadir, but he was actually a witness who was not involved in the shooting. That didn't stop White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer from suggesting on Monday that President Donald Trump's national security policies would have prevented the terrorist attack. During his press briefing, Spicer said that the mosque shooting was a "terrible reminder why the president is taking steps to be proactive, rather than reactive.
But new reports indicate the shooter was actually a Canadian white nationalist who showed support for President Trump and far-right French nationalist Marine Le Pen on Facebook.
— Timothy Johnson (@timothywjohnson) January 30, 2017
As Intercept founder Glenn Greenwald noted, there is often confusion in the hours after a serious attack.
It is usually the case that there is significant confusion in the wake of attacks of this sort. And local police did apparently arrest two suspects at first: both Bissonnette along with el Khadir. And until the investigation is complete, one cannot know for certain what the motives here were. One should be careful about trying to infer too much from a hodgepodge of Facebook “likes” and, this early, even anecdotal claims about his political views.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the shooting a "terrorist attack on Muslims." The tragedy occurred days after President Trump signed an executive order that barred travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
Bissonnette is charged with six counts of first- degree murder and five counts of attempted murder, The Associated Press reported. Bissonnette made a brief court appearance at which he wore a white prisoner jumpsuit and did not enter a plea; "he stared at his feet and fidgeted during the hearing." His next court date is Feb. 21.
Quebec authorities released the names of the six people killed in the attack: Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Azzeddine Soufiane, 57; and Ibrahima Barry, 39.