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A Canadian man dressed in “medieval clothes” used a small sword to kill two people and injure five others in a Halloween stabbing spree in Quebec City, police said.
Carl Girouard, 24, was arrested early Sunday morning wearing a medieval costume after he allegedly used a Japanese sword to attack multiple people in the province’s capital.
Girouard, who is from a small city north of Montreal, parked his car near Quebec City’s iconic Château Frontenac hotel around 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 31, according to officials. Dressed in a medieval costume and armed with a katana, Girouard roamed the streets of the city’s historic quarters, allegedly attacking people at random for upwards of two hours, authorities said.
The first victim was identified as 56-year-old François Duchesne, a museum communications and marketing director, who was found dead near the landmark hotel. His throat had been slit, according to the Associated Press.
“We are all in shock,” said Linda Tremblay, a spokesperson for the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Globe and Mail reported. “It’s a great loss. Our hearts are with François’s family and we also send our sympathies to the families and the victims of this inexplicable tragedy.”
Authorities later found Girouard’s car, which was still running and contained several cans of gasoline and an empty sword sheath.
Suzanne Clermont, 61, was later killed approximately a mile away as she smoked a cigarette outside her apartment.
“She was our sunbeam,” Clermont’s friend, Francine Matteau, said. “We are all feeling very vulnerable. We are all in a lot of pain.”
Witnesses who were in the immediate vicinity of the attacks were later stunned to learn they had initially mistook the massacre for a ghoulish prank.
“We heard someone shout ‘There’s a sicko with a knife!’" one witness told Canadian radio station FM93, according to the Globe and Mail. “Further away, we heard screams. It was Halloween. In the beginning, we thought it was pranks.”
Girouard was later apprehended by authorities shortly before 1 a.m. on the city’s harborfront after security guards tipped off police. The 24-year-old, who was suffering from hypothermia, was taken to hospital.
“He seemed confused,” Steve Jolicoeur, a freelance photographer, told the Associated Press. “He was in black clothes, like a ninja.”
Five other individuals, who sustained serious cuts in the Halloween attack, were in stable condition as of Sunday, authorities said during a press conference. Quebec City Police Chief Robert Pigeon alleged that Girouard came to the city with the “with the intention of doing the most damage possible."
Investigators later combed through 25 separate locations, including Girouard’s home, as well as his vehicle, and several crime scenes associated with the attacks.
“Quebec is awaking after a night of horror,” Quebec’s Premier François Legault wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning. “Words fail me to describe such a tragedy. I offer my condolences to the families of the victim.”
Meanwhile, Quebec City’s mayor, Régis Labeaume, called the attacks "terrifying" and "impossible to understand," CBC reported.
Girouard appeared in court on Sunday afternoon via teleconference. He’s facing two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.
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