Editor's note: After this article was published, on the evening of Jan. 29, 2017, police in Quebec City confirmed that they only had one suspect in custody and that they had released a second man, found at the scene, who was among the victims and trying to help the others.
Police in Quebec City say that at least two suspects are in custody following a mass shooting Sunday evening that targeted people who were praying at a local mosque.
Six people between the ages of 35 and 60 are dead and at least 19 others were wounded following the brutal attack, according to several media reports. Five of the wounded remain in critical condition, and 14 have been treated and released, a spokeswoman with the Centre Hospitalier Universite Laval told media.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau swiftly condemned the tragedy as a "terrorist attack on Muslims."
“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge," Trudeau said in a statement.
The local Le Soleil newspaper reported reported that police surrounded one of the suspects on a bridge to a small eastern suburb, Île d'Orléans, at around 9:15 p.m., before proceeding with the arrests. Police say the second suspect, who called 911, was arrested a short time after just east of Quebec City’s downtown core.
The violent attack comes as the American administration of President Donald Trump attempts to carry out a temporary travel ban on Muslims from seven different countries from entering the United States.
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Local televised reports and photos posted on social media show that police set up a security perimeter around the site of the shooting, the Centre culturelle islamique du Québec, which is in the suburb of Sainte-Foy, on the west side of the city.
"Tonight, Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City," Trudeau wrote on Twitter. "My thoughts are with victims & their families."
The mosque president, Mohammed Yangui, told the Globe and Mail that he couldn't believe what was happening.
Quoting witnesses on the scene, the Globe reported that two men wearing ski masks entered during a period of Sunday evening prayers and went through both the first and second floors of the building.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says no motive has been confirmed for the shooting.
Canada has strict gun control laws, and mass shootings in the country are not as common as similar incidents in the United States.
Tonight, Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City. My thoughts are with victims & their families.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 30, 2017
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard also denounced the attacks, saying that the government was mobilizing resources to protect public safety.
"Quebec categorically rejects this barbaric violence," Couillard wrote on Twitter. "We stand in solidarity with the loved ones of the victims, the wounded and their families. Let's unite against violence. Solidarity with Québécois Muslims."
Couillard also described the shooting as a terrorist attack.
Le #Québec rejette catégoriquement cette violence barbare. Toute notre solidarité aux proches des victimes, des blessés et à leur famille.— Philippe Couillard (@phcouillard) January 30, 2017
Unissons-nous contre la violence. Solidarité avec les Québécois de confession musulmane.— Philippe Couillard (@phcouillard) January 30, 2017
Statement by Prime Minister Trudeau on the terrorist attack in Quebec City: https://t.co/7MhjDUFye0— CanadianPM (@CanadianPM) January 30, 2017
The mosque in question was previously victimized by a racist attack last June, when someone left a pig's head left outside of the building.
In a series of tweets, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offered his condolences to the victims as he announced that the NYPD was beefing up its own security around mosques. He also urged everyone to be vigilant and to work together to put an end to hatred and division in society.
"The awful attack in Quebec is not an outlier," de Blasio wrote. "Today, a mosque in Texas was burned to the ground. We must stop those who seek to divide us."
"To my fellow New Yorkers who are Muslim: New York City will protect you. The NYPD will protect you. We will fight all hatred and bias."
The awful attack in Quebec is not an outlier. Today, a mosque in Texas was burned to the ground. We must stop those who seek to divide us. pic.twitter.com/8LklzkoltM— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) January 30, 2017
To my fellow New Yorkers who are Muslim: New York City will protect you. The NYPD will protect you. We will fight all hatred and bias.— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) January 30, 2017
— with files from The Canadian Press
Editor's Note: This story was updated at 10:45 a.m. E.T. on Mon. Jan. 30, 2017 to correct a typographic error and include new information.
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