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Student Who Allegedly Killed 6 People At A Canadian Mosque Charged With Murder

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the attack an act of terrorism. The suspect, identified as 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette, is in police custody.

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The Canadian student accused of fatally shooting six people and wounding eight others at a mosque in Quebec City was charged with murder on Monday.

The suspect, identified as 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette, is facing six charges of first-degree murder and five charges of attempted murder after he allegedly opened fire during Sunday evening prayers.

The victims, all men, were identified Monday as Ibrahima Barry, 39, Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, Tanou Barry, 42, Aboubaker Thabti, 44, Azzeddine Soufiane, 57, and Khaled Belkacemi, 60.

Police initially said two men were in custody after the attack on the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, but on Monday, the second person, Mohamed Belkhadir, a Moroccan, was confirmed to only be a witness.

"The lone wolves and the copycats are the toughest killers to deal with. They are often unpredictable," Canadian Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said at a news conference Monday, adding that the country is not upgrading its terrorism threat level, which has remained at medium since October 2014.

"This was an act of extreme violence directed at a particular group with the intent to intimidate and strike fear in our hearts," Goodale said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the attack an act of terrorism in a statement released overnight Sunday.

Here’s What We Know About The Suspect In The Quebec Mosque Attack

Quebec police said worshipers were praying on the ground floor of the mosque when the shooting began just before 8 p.m., CBC News reported.

Early Monday, Quebec Provincial police said that one of the two men detained eventually surrendered after calling police from the side of a road at Île d'Orléans, some 20 kilometers outside Quebec City, after the attack, saying he was armed but ready to cooperate.

"The suspect dialed 911 and identified as being involved in the incident," Andre Goulet, the chief inspector of the Quebec Provincial Police said.

The other suspect was detained at the scene, Goulet said. Police said it was too early to discuss motives, or whether there had been any foreign involvement.

President Donald Trump reached out to Trudeau to express his condolences and offered to provide any assistance needed.

A specialized terrorism unit, made up of all branches of Québécois law enforcement, was deployed to investigate the shooting, and extra security was put in place at mosques.

Quebec Premier Couillard had earlier said that the provincial government was mobilizing to ensure the safety of residents.

A video posted by the mosque on Sunday night showed a heavy police presence at the scene.

The attack came as protests were held around the US after President Donald Trump placed a ban of refugees coming from seven Muslim-majority countries. Canada's government said Sunday that it would assist any US-bound travelers who had been stranded in Canada because of the refugee ban.

The New York Police Department also said in a statement that it had directed special attention to all mosques and house-of-worship locations in the city. And Critical Response Command personnel have been assigned to certain mosque locations.

The mosque at the centre of the Canadian attack, the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, was founded in 1985, according to its Facebook page. And it's not the first time it has been targeted. In June 2016, during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, a pig's head was left in front of the mosque.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.

Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Francis Whittaker at francis.whittaker@buzzfeed.com.

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