2012 Montreal shooting

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2012 Montreal shooting
Attack Quebec 2012 Elections Metropolis.jpg
Caution tape and policemen at Saint Catherine Street in front of the Métropolis building, after the shooting.
Location Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Date September 4, 2012 (UTC-4)
Attack type
Shooting, arson
Deaths 1
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrator Richard Henry Bain

On the night of September 4, 2012, the Parti Québécois won the Quebec general election, with a minority government. Party leader Pauline Marois was partway through her victory speech to her supporters, gathered at the Métropolis in downtown Montreal, when a masked man approached the building and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, killing one stage technician and injuring another. The man then attempted to set fire to the building, but was quickly tackled and apprehended by Montreal police, in a nearby alley.

A man named Richard Henry Bain was identified as the suspect in the shooting. In 2016, Bain was convicted of second-degree murder.


A heavyset man wearing a blue bathrobe and black balaclava approached the back door of the Métropolis theatre with a 9mm Luger P08 semiautomatic pistol[1] and a Česká Zbrojovka-858 semiautomatic rifle.[2][3][4] Initial eyewitness reports claimed the rifle was an AK-47 assault rifle, which is similar in appearance to the semiautomatic CZ-858.[5][6] The man opened fire, killing Denis Blanchette, a 48-year-old male stage technician.[7] His 27-year-old colleague, Dave Courage, was critically wounded.

Marois was whisked away from the stage without harm by her bodyguards, and the suspect was apprehended and arrested, shortly after he had started a fire at the back entrance of the building. While being led to the police vehicle during his arrest, the suspect infamously called out "The English are waking up!" and "It's going to be fucking payback."[8] Although in 2012 it was reported the shooter used a Molotov cocktail,[9] it was later alleged he poured gasoline on a door and ignited it with a road flare.[10] Several families living in the area had to be evacuated out of their homes due to the fire, which was quickly doused.[11][12][13] The Sûreté du Québec announced that the shooting would be investigated as a potential attempted assassination on Marois, the then-premier-designate.[14]

The Métropolis, site of the attack


The suspect was Richard Henry Bain, 62, from La Conception, Laurentides, Quebec.[11][15] Police searched Bain's vehicle and found a 9mm Beretta pistol, a .357 Magnum revolver, a .22-calibre semi-automatic rifle, and more lighter fluid and gas canisters that could have been used for the fire.[11]

Legal proceedings[edit]

Bain faced 16 charges, including one first-degree murder and three of attempted murder; the remnant charges are related to arson and weapons violations. In several of the multiple court hearings, Bain claimed that Jesus Christ is his lawyer. After losing his legal aid lawyer, he looked for a new lawyer and read up on the criminal code to represent himself. He had a hearing scheduled on March 12.[16][17]

With Alan Guttman as his new defence lawyer, Bain's trial was delayed to May 2016 while Guttman sought an expert to perform another psychiatric evaluation of Bain. Guttman claimed that Bain was on anti-depressants with side effects on personality and hallucinations.[18]

During the trial, Guttman argued the defendant was not criminally responsible.[19] However, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Joel Watts, called by the Crown, testified Bain understood his actions were wrong.[20]

On August 23, 2016 Bain was found guilty of second-degree murder. Sentencing arguments were heard in September 2016.[21] On November 18, 2016 Bain was sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole until he has served twenty (20) years of that sentence.[22]

Official reaction[edit]

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that he was 'shocked and saddened' by the shooting, and that "such violence has no place in Canada".[23] At a party caucus meeting in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Democratic Party Leader Thomas Mulcair issued the following statement: "Our first thoughts are with the victims and their families and those that were close to them. We're going to continue to let the police do their work before commenting any further on these tragic events." On September 6, it was reported that Denis Blanchette would be given a civic funeral.[24] The funeral was held on September 10, with Marois and former premier Bernard Landry among the dignitaries in attendance.[25] Équipe Spectra also organized a benefit concert in memory of Blanchette, with funds to support Blanchette's four-year-old daughter.[26]


  1. ^ Shooting suspect Richard Henry Bain arraigned on 16 charges, including first-degree murder. Montreal Gazette, September 6, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  2. ^ 427 Quebecers own semi-automatic rifle linked to election-night shooting. Global News, September 7, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  3. ^ Montreal shooting suspect in police custody at Euronews; published September 5, 2012; retrieved September 5, 2012
  4. ^ PQ shooting suspect faces charges including murder, arson. The Observer, September 6, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  5. ^ "No AK this: the Czech Sa vz.58". Guns Magazine. 2009. 
  6. ^ "Victory rally a crime scene". Toronto Star. September 5, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Denis Blanchette est mort en héros". La Presse. September 6, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Attentat Pauline Marois - Arrestation de Richard Henry Bain". La Presse. September 4, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2016. 
  9. ^ Suspect in PQ shooting acted alone: Cops. The Londoner, September 5, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  10. ^ The Canadian Press, "Survivor of PQ election-night shooting testifies at Richard Henry Bain murder trial," The Montreal Gazette, 15 June 2016, URL accessed 24 August 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Suspected PQ rally gunman ID'd as Mont Tremblant man at CBC.ca, by CBC News; published September 5, 2012; retrieved September 5, 2012
  12. ^ Gunman targets Quebec premier at victory speech at CNN, by Holly Yan and Michael Pearson; published September 5, 2012; retrieved September 5, 2012
  13. ^ Fatal Shooting At Quebec Separatist’s Victory Speech, at TIME, by Judith Welikala; published September 5, 2012; retrieved September 5, 2012
  14. ^ ‘The anglos are waking up’: Pauline Marois possible target of Quebec election gunman. National Post, September 5, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  15. ^ Police identify Richard Henry Bain as a suspect in Parti Quebecois victory rally shooting at Yahoo! News; by Yahoo! Canada News; published September 5, 2012; retrieved September 5, 2012
  16. ^ Accused in fatal Quebec election night shooting faces 16 charges at CBC.ca; by CBC News; published September 6, 2012; retrieved September 6, 2012
  17. ^ Election-night shooting suspect wants to defend himself at The Montreal Gazette; published February 20, 2013.
  18. ^ The Canadian Press, "Richard Henry Bain's lawyer gets extension on trial," CBC News, July 30, 2015, URL accessed October 3, 2015.
  19. ^ Graeme Hamilton, "Richard Bain tells murder trial anti-depressant drugs changed him before 2012 PQ attack," National Post, 18 July 2016, URL accessed 24 August 2016.
  20. ^ Jaela Bernstien, "Why a not criminally responsible verdict is unlikely in Quebec's election-night murder case," CBC News, 13 August 2016, URL accessed 24 August 2016.
  21. ^ Jaela Bernstien, "Richard Bain guilty of 2nd-degree murder in 2012 Quebec election-night shooting," CBC News, 23 August 2016, URL accessed 24 August 2016.
  22. ^ "R. c. Bain, 2016 QCCS 5785". CanLII. 18 November 2016. 
  23. ^ Fatal shooting at Pauline Marois Quebec victory speech at The Guardian; by Isabeau Doucet; published September 5, 2012; retrieved September 5, 2012
  24. ^ "Denis Blanchette to be given civic funeral". Montreal Gazette. September 6, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  25. ^ Hundreds attend PQ rally shooting victim's funeral. CBC News, September 10, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  26. ^ "Family of victim in PQ victory party shooting holds no 'hostility'". CBC News. September 7, 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 

Coordinates: 45°30′39″N 73°33′48″W / 45.51083°N 73.56333°W / 45.51083; -73.56333