QUEBEC: A man accused in a Quebec City mosque shooting that left six people dead was formally charged with murder and attempted murder during a brief court appearance Monday.
Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, sat impassively as a 12th count of attempted murder was added to the six murder and five attempted murder charges already laid, while the prosecution and defense lawyers agreed to skip a preliminary hearing and go straight to trial.
It was also decided that the case would be heard by a judge and jury. A trial date will be decided on December 11.
A victim of the attack who was seriously injured and four widows of other victims were in court for the hearing.
Quebec City mosque co-founder Boufeldja Benabdallah said he was upset that Bissonnette, a white nationalist, was not specifically charged with terrorism.
“It’s a huge disappointment that there’s no terrorism charge because he targeted a group of Muslims sitting in prayer,” he said.
“This terrorism act must be acknowledged and condemned so that we may learn from it, and understand that terrorism targets everyone,” he said.
During Sunday prayers on January 29, a gunman stormed into the Quebec City mosque and unleashed a hail of bullets on worshippers in one of the worst attacks ever to target Muslims in a western country.
In the days that followed, thousands of Canadians including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gathered in the city to express their solidarity with the Muslim community.