A man dressed in medieval clothing and armed with a Japanese sword has been arrested on suspicion of killing two people and wounding five others in Canada.
The attack on randomly-chosen victims on Halloween near the historic Chateau Frontenac hotel in Quebec City went on for nearly two-and-a-half hours while police pursued the man armed with a katana throughout the city’s downtown core on foot, Quebec Police Chief Robert Pigeon said.
Quebec’s prosecutor’s office said Carl Girouard, 24, faces two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.
Girouard appeared before a judge via video-conference on Sunday and the next hearing in the case is expected to be on Thursday.
Police said their initial information indicated the suspect’s motive was personal and not terrorism.
“Last night we were thrust into a night of horror when a 24-year-old man who does not live in Quebec City came here with the clear intention of taking as many victims as possible,” Mr Pigeon said.
He said the suspect, who was from the Montreal area, had no criminal record but that “in a medical context” over five years ago he had shared his intention to commit this type of act. He said the investigation continued.
Police were first notified of the stabbings near the National Assembly shortly before 10.30pm on Saturday and warned people to remain indoors as they hunted for the attacker.
The two people killed were identified as 56-year-old Francois Duchesne and 61-year-old Suzanne Clermont.
The five injured victims were taken to a hospital. “Some have very significant lacerations but we do not fear for their lives,” Mr Pigeon said.
Steve Jolicoeur, a freelance photographer, said he witnessed the arrest of the suspect, who threw his sword in the air.
“He seemed confused,” Mr Jolicoeur said. “He was in black clothes, like a ninja.”