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Alexandre Bissonnette (born c. 1989) is a Canadian terrorist, responsible for committing a mass shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, a mosque in Quebec City, Quebec, on January 29, 2017. Six worshipers were killed and nineteen others were injured.

Bissonnette was charged with six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder, and on February 8, 2019, two years after the shooting occurred, he was sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 40 years.

Bissonnette's attack is believed to have helped inspire Brenton Tarrant's attack on a pair of mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand two years later.

Background

Bissonnette grew up in Cap-Rouge. Neighbours said his father and mother were both present in his life and were model parents, adding that they had never had a problem with either him or his twin brother. Former acquaintances say he was introverted and sometimes bullied at school. He was not known to police, and he had no court records other than traffic violations. Before the shooting he had been living in an apartment near the mosque along with his twin brother.

Bissonnette reportedly struggled with mental illness and had an obsession with suicide.

People who knew him said he had far-right, white nationalist, and Islamophobic views, and was a supporter of the Alt-Right movement. The manager of a refugee-support Facebook page said Bissonnette frequently denigrated refugees and feminists online. A member of the mosque said he had met and talked with him outside the mosque on January 26, believing he was interested in Islam, but he veered away from the subject. Bissonnette checked in on the Twitter account of Ben Shapiro, editor in chief of the conservative news site the Daily Wire, 93 times in the month leading up to the shooting.

The shooting

According to witnesses at the scene, Bissonnette entered the mosque shortly after the scheduled 7:30 pm prayers began, wearing either a hood or a ski mask. At about 7:55 pm EST, when the first calls to the police were made, he began shooting at worshippers lingering in the mosque after the prayer. A witness said the attacker walked into the mosque after the evening prayer and started shooting anything that moved and left after emptying his weapon.

He called police from the area near the bridge to the Île d'Orléans far from the mosque, and told them he was involved and wanted to surrender, with police taking him into custody shortly afterwards.

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