MONTREAL (AP) — A man who was shot and killed by police after he struck two members of the Canadian military with his car Monday in a city near Montreal had become influenced by radical Islam, an official familiar with the case said.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman David Falls said the suspect “was known to Federal authorities” and “authorities were concerned that he had become radicalized.”
An official familiar with the case identified the suspect as Martin Couture Rouleau, 25, of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, and said he was influenced by radical Islamists. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
Police declined to provide details, citing the investigation.
Quebec police shot the man after two members of the military were struck by the motorist in a parking lot mall near Montreal. The suspect died a few hours after being shot.
Quebec provincial police Lt. Michel Brunet said earlier that police ended up shooting the man after a car chase in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 26 miles (42 kilometers) southeast of Montreal. After the man hit the two soldiers, he fled the scene in his vehicle, triggering a police chase that ended with the man losing control and his car rolling over several times.
Brunet said the man exited the car and was shot. He said they found a knife on the ground but he could not say if he had it in his hand when police fired their weapons. Television images showed a large knife in the grass near his flipped over
Police said one of the soldiers was seriously injured, while the other’s injuries were less serious. Brunet said he didn’t know if the soldiers were wearing uniforms at the time they were struck.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was briefed about the incident by the head of Canada’s national police force, the head of the military and his national security adviser.
Harper said earlier Monday in Parliament that he was aware of the reports and called them “extremely troubling.”
“First and foremost our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families; we’re closely monitoring the situation and obviously we will make available all of the resources of the federal government,” Harper said.
The case is similar to one in London, England, last year in which an al-Qaida-inspired extremist and another man ran over a soldier with a car before hacking the off-duty soldier to death. Images of Michael Adebolajo, 29, holding a butcher knife and cleaver with bloodied hands in the moments after the May 2013 killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby shocked people around the world and sparked fears of Islamist terrorism in Britain.
The self-described “soldier of Allah” was sentenced along with his accomplice to life in prison. The pair were convicted of murdering Rigby, 25, who was walking near his barracks in south London when the men ran him over with a car. They then dragged his body onto the road, and repeatedly stabbed him with knives.
The Islamic State group has urged supporters to carry out attacks against Western countries, including Canada, that are participating in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militants who have taken over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. It was not known whether the suspect in the Quebec attack had any ties to Islamic militant groups.