Two members of the Canadian military were targeted by a man who sources say was a convert to radical Islam in a deadly hit-and-run attack in what many are labeling a terrorist attack.
Late Monday morning the suspect, Martin Couture Rouleau, targeted two soldiers in their fatigues and mowed them down as they walked across a strip mall parking lot of a small military town just south of Montreal, killing one of the soldiers and seriously injuring the other in a hit-and-run attack that mimics similar ones carried out by terrorists in other countries. A police chase gave way after the hit-and-run attack and Rouleau was eventually shot and killed moments later. The injured soldier is still hospitalized while being treated for his injuries. Per the request of the families, the names of the soldiers have not been released to the public.
The hit-and-run attack occurred in the town of St. Jean sur Richelieu, which is home to a military college and houses a garrison. The suspect, who changed his name to Ahmed Rouleau after converting to islam a year ago, led police on a high speed chase after the hit-and-run attack, losing control of his vehicle which flipped over and landed in a ditch. The hit-and-run driver then began to threaten police who responded with multiple gun shots; his knife was recovered at the scene. Rouleau later died at the hospital where he was being treated for his injuries.
An official statement released from the office of the Prime Minister has confirmed that federal authorities were aware of the Islamic militant Rouleau prior to the hit-and-run attack, stating that "Federal authorities have confirmed that there are clear indications that the individual had become radicalized." Several of Rouleau's neighbors also confirmed that they observed extreme changes in the suspect after his conversion to Islam in the months leading up to the hit-and-run attack.
During a press conference following the hit-and-run attack, Public Safety Minister, Steven Blaney stated that "what took place yesterday is clearly linked to terrorist ideology." He expressed condolences to the fallen soldier's family and added that the hit-and-run attack "is an unacceptable act of violence against our country, our Quebec values, our Canadian values."
This case is a very similar to another hit-and-run attack which killed a British soldier, Lee Rigby, near his barracks in South London in 2013. The two men who described themselves as "soldiers for Allah" ran over Rigby and began to hack him to death in the street with a meat cleaver after the hit-and-run attack as horrified witnesses watched.
As an investigation continues into this hit-and-run attack, authorities urge Canadians to continue to "remain vigilant" as concern over future hit-and-run attacks and other terror motivated crimes grows.
[Image Source: Reuters/The Telegraph]