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Lone suspect in the Quebec mosque shooting charged with murder

Six died and five remained hospitalized after Sunday's shooting

The suspect in Sunday's mass shooting at an Islamic center in Quebec City is charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

The CBC says Alexandre Bissonnette's Facebook page, which has been removed, indicated he studied at Laval University. That's not far from the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec, where the shooting occurred on Sunday evening.

The vice president of the mosque told the National Post the six victims were all shot in the back as they prayed. The CBC reports one of the worshippers who was killed was a professor at Laval University and another owned a nearby grocery store.

From two suspects to one

After reports on Sunday night that two suspects had been arrested, authorities clarified Monday that one of those men is a witness to the shooting and that Bissonnette is the only suspected shooter.

Canada's Global News service says local police were not familiar with Bissonnette, who is 27. An executive with Laval University could not confirm that Bissonnette was a student there.

Although Trudeau and others have labeled the shooting a terrorist act, police have not said anything about a motive yet, Global News reports.

The New York Times says an official with a refugee advocacy group told the French-Canadian newspaper La Presse that Bissonnette had made harassing comments toward their members in an online chat room.

The Associated Press says at the court appearance where he was charged Monday evening, Bissonnette stared at his feet and fidgeted. He did not enter a plea and his next court appearance was set for Feb. 21, the AP reports.

Outpouring of support for Quebec and the victims

The New York Times notes that mass shootings are rare in Canada and says the country was stunned by what happened.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement: “We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge ....Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear."

Trudeau was called by President Donald Trump, who offered his condolences and any help the U.S. could provide, the Toronto Star reports.

Quebec is predominantly French-speaking province that over the years has flirted with separating from the rest of Canada. But Sunday's shooting has generated new expressions of unity.

The Times says Quebec's premier, Philippe Couillard said at a Monday news conference with local Muslim leaders: “We’re all Quebecers. All of us. Each one of us. We are a large nation, a large people, but we’re even more united today.”

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