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Two men died Monday after a pickup truck plowed into pedestrians beside a road in the eastern Quebec town of Amqui, although a senior Canadian official rapidly ruled out a terrorism attack or a national security incident.
A provincial police spokeswoman said nine other people were injured, including two whose injuries are considered serious.
Sgt. Hélène St-Pierre said the 38-year-old driver, a local resident, turned himself in to police and was arrested under suspicion of committing a fatal hit and run.
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A senior government official familiar with the matter said the incident was not terrorism or national security related. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Authorities had not mentioned any motive.
St-Pierre said the two people killed were both men, one in his 60s and the other in his 70s. Among the injured, two suffered serious injuries and the other seven were being evaluated, she said.
First responders work the scene where two men died after a pickup truck plowed into pedestrians who were walking beside a road in Amqui, Quebec, on March 13, 2023. (CTV News via AP)
St-Pierre said investigators and accident reconstruction experts were working to establish the circumstances of the crash.
“Everything indicates it was an isolated incident, and that there is no more danger in the area, and there is just one suspect,” she said.
The incident happened just after 3 p.m. along St-Benoit Boulevard in Amqui, a town about 220 miles northeast of Quebec City.
The regional health board confirmed that a “code orange” had been declared at the Amqui hospital, which generally indicates a situation with a high number of casualties.
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Alain Gilbert, a truck driver, said he was driving into Amqui when he saw several ambulances tending to about four or possibly five people spread over a distance of about 546 yards.
He saw a police officer performing CPR on one person lying on the ground. He said there didn’t appear to be any children in the group.
Last month in Laval, Quebec, police said a man driving a city bus deliberately smashed into a daycare center, killing two children.
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In 2021, a man used a pickup to kill four members of an immigrant family in London, Ontario, in what Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said was a hate crime directed at Muslims.
In 2018, a man in a van rampaged through pedestrians in Toronto, killing 10 people. Alek Minassian was found guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. Minassian, 28, told police he belonged to an online community of sexually frustrated men, some of whom have plotted attacks on people who have sex.