Bissonnette opened up 48 rounds in three minutes on the 53 worshippers at the Grand Mosque of Quebec City on Jan. 29, 2017. Last month he pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder, which carries a minimum sentence of 25 years, and six counts of attempted murder. The current trial proceedings will decide his prison term, and when or if the defendant should be eligible for parole.
Monday April 16, 2018
Canadian Alexandre Bissonnette blames Prime Minister Trudeau and alcohol for his killing spree of six people praying at a Quebec mosque in Jan. 2017.
Twenty-eight-year-old Canadian Alexandre Bissonnette blames Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and alcohol for his killing spree of six people praying at a Quebec mosque in Jan. 2017.
In a confessional tape played at Bissonnette’s hearing last Friday the young man said he made the decision to storm the mosque with an automatic weapon and rifle a day after he heard news of Trudeau’s Jan. 28, 2017 tweet that read, "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada."
Bissonnette said: "I was watching TV and I learned that the Canadian government was going to take more refugees, you know, who couldn’t go to the United States, and they were coming here. I saw that and I, like, lost my mind. It was then that I decided it was time to go."
The tweet from Canada’s prime minister was a response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order the previous day - Jan. 27, 2017 - banning Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian, Libyan, Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni citizens from entering the country for 90 days. The decree also stopped the acceptance of Syrian refugees indefinitely. Massive U.S. protests broke out against the measure - mainly at airports - by people trying to protect the arrival of passengers from banned countries.
Bissonnette says he was triggered to attack on Sunday, Jan. 29 after hearing of Trudeau's support of foreigners into Canada and, he says, because he was drinking while on his anti-anxiety medication. In his confession, Bissonnette blamed the alcohol for his actions. "If I hadn’t drank yesterday, I wouldn’t be here."
The attacker had an overwhelming fear that attacks by Islamic sects that had occurred in various European countries would happen in Canada if he didn't act.
"I didn’t want it to come here. You know, I don’t want us to become like Europe. I saw that and, you know, they’re going to kill my parents, my family, me, too. I had to do something, I couldn’t do nothing. It was something that tortured me," Bissonnette told Quebec authorities the day after his crime spree, adding he thought his mosque attack would save lives. "I told myself that maybe because of what I was doing, maybe 100 people would be saved. Maybe 200, maybe 300. You never know."
Though the attacker’s crime qualifies as terrorism under Canadian law, prosecutors chose to try to convict him of murder, which carries the severest consequences under the national law.
A subsequent iteration of Trump’s travel ban was ruled unconstitutional in by a federal appeals court in February of this year, saying it is "unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam." The U.S. Supreme Court said last week it will announce its decision on the travel ban case in June.
Bissonnette’s sentence hearing will continue this week.