Election shooting stuns Quebec


A masked gunman shot dead one person inside the Montreal theatre where the leader of Quebec's separatist Parti Quebecois was addressing supporters in the wake of a narrow election win in the Canadian province, police said today.

The incident was shocking for Canada, where crime rates are relatively low and political violence is unheard of.

The shooting eclipsed the news that the Parti Quebecois had only just defeated the ruling Liberals and would have to be content with a minority government, effectively ruling out another referendum on breaking away from Canada.

Pauline Marois, the first female premier of Quebec, had just told her supporters the province would one day be independent when her bodyguards rushed her from the stage. She later returned to finish her speech.

Montreal police spokesman Danny Richer said a man aged about 50 entered the back of the Metropolis theater at about midnight (4am Irish time) and shot two people. Police said a man in his 40s died on the spot, another was taken to hospital in a critical condition. The suspect also set fire to the back of the building.

RDI television showed pictures of police subduing a large man with a rifle who was dressed in a black cape and a black face mask.

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