Carl Girouard is the 24-year-old Montreal man who has been identified as the suspect in random sword attacks in Quebec City, Canada, that left two dead and at least five injured on Halloween night, Le Journal de Quebec reports.
Police said at a press conference the suspect was dressed in medieval clothing and was armed with a Japanese-style katana sword. Some witnesses described the suspect as being disguised as a samurai, according the CBC. According to police, the attack was premeditated, but the victims were picked at random.
The victims in the attacks have been identified as 56-year-old Francois Duchesne and 61-year-old Suzanne Clermont, police said on Twitter. Authorities said the seven victims were all residents of Quebec City and include two French nationals who have lived in Canada for several years.
Little information about Girouard has been released so far. Police said the suspect was scheduled to appear in court on Sunday, November 1, by video. Authorities have not officially released his name, but Le Journal de Quebec confirmed his identity with several sources, the newspaper reports. According to the CBC, Radio Canada also identified the suspect as Girouard.
Here’s what you need to know about Carl Girouard and the Quebec City stabbings:
1. Girouard Was Motivated by ‘Personal Reasons,’ Police Say & Does Not Have Any Known Links to Terror Groups
According to police, Girouard is believed to have been motivated by “personal reasons,” and there are no known connections to terror or hate groups. Police said the investigation is ongoing but Girouard is not believed to have been motivated by religious or political ideology. Police said they do not believe the attack is connected to recent terrorism in France.
Quebec City Police Chief Robert Pigeon told reporters at a press conference the suspect came to Quebec City “with the intention of doing the most damage possible” during the stabbing and slashing rampage. Pigeon said of the surviving victims, “some have very significant lacerations but we do not fear for their lives.”
Police spokesman Etienne Doyon said investigators were working to determine if Girouard was acting alone. “Nothing is impossible,” he told Global News. “But for now, we’re happy to have arrested a suspect and the investigation is ongoing.”
Pigeon said, according to Le Soleil, “Someone who disguises himself, who shows up on the scene with a bladed weapon and a costume, and randomly will target victims in his path, obviously I think he had planned his action.”
2. Girouard Was Known to Have Mental Health Issues Prior to the Attacks & Previously Threatened to Kill People
Girouard was known to have mental health issues prior to the attacks, officials said at a Sunday press conference. Authorities stressed mental health several times during the news conference, with the Quebec City mayor saying the government must address mental health issues in the community.
According to police, the suspect made threats of violence, including threatening to kill people, in 2014, “in a medical context.”
Michelle Chagnon, a neighbor at Girouard’s apartment complex in the Montreal area told Le Journal de Quebec, “It’s deplorable. The man who smashed the jawbone of a bus driver is also from here. I think there is a lack of mental health resources in the area. It’s starting to not be reassuring.” Chagnon was referencing a late September 2020 attack on a female bus driver in Montreal by a man who police say was angered by being told to wear a mask, according to CTV News.
Chagnon added, “”We do not know our neighbors and it is the case to say it.”
3. The Attacks Occurred in 4 Different Areas & Went on for More Than 2 Hours in What Police Called a ‘Night of Horror’
The attacks began about 10:30 p.m. Saturday night, on Halloween, according to the CBC. The attacks occurred near the Chateau Frontenac hotel, on du Trssor Street, and on des Remparts Street, the news organization reports.
“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,” the police chief, Pigeon, said at a news conference.
The body of the first victim was found on du Tresor Street, near the Chateau Frontenac hotel, according to the CBC. According to Le Soleil, the first victim was “slaughtered,” and had a wound “pierced” through the upper body, and there was a lot of blood. The second was located on des Remparts Street. Police were searching for the suspect for more than two hours.
Authorities said at a press conference that Girouard was arrested near the Old Port of Quebec about 1 a.m. on November 1. He was spotted by a security officer at the port, according to police. Girouard was barefoot and lying on the ground before he was taken into custody, Le Soleil reports. He did not show any resistance to police and raised his arms, the newspaper reports. He had the sword with him, according to Le Soleil
The suspect was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated after showing signs of hypothermia, officials said at a press conference. He has since been taken to a police station to be questioned.
Carlos Godoy, a Quebec City resident, told The Associated Press police searched his neighborhood while looking for the suspect. “It’s a full moon, it’s October 31st. It’s Halloween, and it’s a lockdown weekend. No one should be out on the streets,” Godoy told The AP. “And I’m in an extremely quiet neighborhood because there are no tourists nowadays.” According to The Associated Press, the area where the stabbings occurred would normally be bustling with crowds.
4. Girouard, Who Lives in Sainte-Therese, Does Not Have a Criminal Record
Girouard, who is from Montreal’s North Shore, does not have a criminal record, the Quebec City police chief said at Sunday’s press conference. He said details about previous threats were made in a mental health context, not in a criminal one.
According to Le Journal de Quebec, police were searching Girouard’s home on Place Brosseau in Sainte-Therese and were also searching his vehicle. He was scheduled to appear in court via video on Sunday for the first time. It was not immediately clear what charges he is facing.
Heavy has been unable to locate any confirmed social media profiles or other information about Girouard’s online history, including whether he made any statements or posts about the attack, either before or during it. Officials said at the Sunday press conference that videos posted on social claiming to show the suspect have not been confirmed as authentic or connected to the incident.
5. Officials Condemned the ‘Barbarous Act’ & Said It Brought Back Memories of the 2017 Mosque Attack in Quebec City That Left 6 Dead & 19 Injured
Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume said at a press conference Sunday the killings brought back memories of the 2017 attack on a mosque in Quebec City that left six people dead and 19 injured. “I have the distinct impression of replaying in an old film, a film whose action took place on January 29, 2017 at the mosque in Quebec,” Labeaume said. “It is a hallucinatory, terrifying event, an event which is obviously beyond comprehension.”
Labeaume said the incident appeared to be isolated. “I feel the need to remember that this drama does not call into question the fact that this city is one of the safest in the world, but it is difficult and almost impossible to foresee the consequences of the madness resulting visibly from mental health problems,” the mayor said.
The mayor added, “There needs to be solidarity. This tragedy adds to our collective mental load from the pandemic, we will do everything necessary to deal with the psychological consequences of tragedy.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “My heart breaks for the loved ones of the two people killed in last night’s horrific attack in Quebec City. I’m also wishing a full recovery to the injured. We’re keeping you in our thoughts and will be there for you. To all the first responders, thank you for your critical work.”
Premier Francois Legault said on Twitter, “Quebec wakes up after a night of horror. I do not have the words to describe such a tragedy.”