Trudeau attends the vigil for the victims of the Montreal daycare accident

By Nelson Wyatt

LAVAL, Quebec (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined a grieving Montreal suburban community at a vigil on Thursday night, a day after a bus driver plowed his vehicle into a local daycare, killing two children and injuring six other children.

Police charged the driver, 51-year-old Pierre Ny St-Amand, with nine counts including first-degree murder and assault. Authorities have not yet given any indication of a motive behind the incident in Laval, Quebec, as they await a psychological evaluation of the suspect.

Trudeau spoke to mourners and laid a bouquet of white flowers at a makeshift memorial in front of the Église Sainte-Rose-de-Lima church, where he was accompanied by Laval’s Mayor Stéphane Boyer.

“This is a moment to reflect on the incredible loss families are feeling right now,” CTV News quoted Trudeau as saying.

Flags on some public buildings, including the Quebec provincial legislature, were lowered to half-mast, and small shrines had been erected near the scene of the tragedy.

At one point, a Laval police cruiser parked at the edge of the crime scene was stuffed with stuffed animals, flowers and messages of condolence. More lay along a fence nearby.

Earlier in the day, Quebec Premier Francois Legault, with other politicians, visited Laval, a suburban area northwest of Montreal known for its historic homes, to mourn with the local community.

He stopped to speak to parents who had dropped off their 2 1/2 year old daughter 10 minutes before the accident. She was fine, but parents said their older daughter might need help as she was friends with one of the children who died.

“We’re with you,” Legault said, squeezing the woman’s arm.

Legault urged people to turn to friends and family or seek psychological counseling to help cope.

Police have not confirmed the children’s ages, but according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, about 80 children under the age of 5 attend this daycare.

Authorities said St-Amand had worked for the municipality of Laval’s public transport system for 10 years and had no criminal record. He was taken to a hospital after his parents held him shortly after the accident.

St-Amand will appear in court on February 17, Laval police spokeswoman Erika Landry said, adding that the man punched a police officer during the arraignment.

(Additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; writing by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa and Nia Williams in British Columbia; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Edwina Gibbs)


Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button