MONTREAL - Richard Henry Bain, the English-speaking fishing lodge owner arrested in a deadly shooting at a separatist victory rally, was arraigned Thursday on first-degree murder and 15 other charges.
None of the 16 counts against the 61-year-old mentioned Parti Quebecois premier-elect Pauline Marois, who was rushed off a nightclub stage Tuesday shortly after technician Denis Blanchette was shot and killed nearby.
Crown attorney Eliane Perreault wouldn't confirm police suggestions that Marois might have been the target. The Crown also refused to discuss a possible motive.
"For now the investigation is ongoing and we'll see in the future if there's any charges that have to be added," Perreault told reporters following the brief arraignment.
Constables led the heavy-set, goateed suspect into the courthouse before a horde of news cameras prior to the court hearing Thursday.
Shackled hand and foot, the suspect entered the prisoner's box wearing a white T-shirt, blue sweatpants and glasses. He maintained a blank look on his face throughout.
Bain is also charged with attempted murder related to the shooting of a second club technician.
Other charges are connected to gas, guns and flares in an SUV near the scene. There were also guns in Bain's home north of Montreal, said the Crown.
"Two weapons on him, three in the car and 22 at his house," Perreault said.
The only unregistered gun was the Ceska Zbrojovka rifle used to shoot the club workers.
Marois was concluding a nationally televised victory speech at the packed Metropolis club when a masked man dressed in black came to a rear entrance and opened fire.
Blanchette is believed to have tried to stop the attack before being shot and killed. The entrance was set on fire and the suspect ran away before a police officer tackled him and took him into custody.
The suspect yelled "The English are waking up" just before he was put into a patrol car, raising the spectre of possible anti-separatist motives.
Police have since stepped up security measures around Marois and her home near Quebec City.
Bain's friends told QMI Agency the businessman was taking medication for mental illness.
Donald Kerr, a retired pastor who lives in Bain's hometown north of Montreal, said the suspect has an obsessive personality.
"When I saw Rick on television, I realized that this man was completely crazy," Kerr told QMI Agency from La Conception, Que.
"I knew Rick a bit before this terrible event, and I was completely disappointed."
Others who know Bain said he showed no signs of violence, though La Conception Mayor Maurice Plouffe said the suspect was a very demanding person who was unable to get authorization to expand his fishing lodge because of a government moratorium.
"I'm very surprised," said the mayor. "He was not angry. Persistent, yes, angry, no."
Alleged PQ rally shooter Richard Henry Bain was arrested with two guns on him and three others in his SUV. Here's the tally:
- Gas canisters and flares
- Beretta 9 mm Luger pistol
- 9 mm Luger pistol
- 357 Magnum revolver
- Ceska Zbrojovka rifle
- Semi-automatic 22LR rifle†