A 25-year-old man who injured two soldiers in a hit and run and was later fatally shot by police in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., was known to federal authorities as someone who had been "radicalized," according to the RCMP and the Prime Minister's Office.
Martin Rouleau, a resident of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 40 kilometres southeast of Montreal, was known to provincial and federal law enforcement agencies, the RCMP said.
"This individual was known to federal authorities, including our integrated national security investigations team in Montreal, who along with other authorities were concerned that he had become radicalized," the RCMP said in a statement Monday evening.
Radio-Canada reported that Rouleau's Facebook page identifies him as Ahmad LeConverti (Ahmad the Converted). Neighbours told the CBC's French-language service that he converted to Islam about a year ago.
Rouleau died of his injuries Monday evening, several hours after he was transported to hospital after being shot by municipal police officers at the end of a high-speed chase. Since the shooting involved municipal officers, provincial police are investigating.
Knife found at crash site
The hit and run occurred around 11:30 a.m. ET when two members of the Canadian Armed Forces were hit by a car in a parking lot of a commercial plaza. Both were injured, one critically. Police have not released their names.
|Martin Rouleau called himself 'Ahmad LeConverti' on Facebook|
The chase ended when the driver lost control of his car, flipping it into a ditch. Police said the man got out of the vehicle, and several shots were fired by officers. Police said the incident also involved a knife but did not elaborate.
"We found a knife on the ground," said provincial police Sgt. Michel Brunet "I can't tell you if he had it in his hands at the time."
|SQ (Surete du Quebec) hit and run military St-Jean-sur-Richelieu|
Nathalie Vanasse was driving by at the time with her husband and saw the vehicle in the ditch.
“I was scared. I started crying," she said. "I wanted to get out of my car to go help, before the shots were fired … I heard and saw shots being fired — seven shots
"I saw a police officer jump to the side to protect himself. That's when I saw the suspect fall to the ground."
Lt. Guy Lapointe of the Sûreté du Québec said police are looking into whether the soldiers were targeted by the driver.
"All I can say is that the theory that this is a deliberate act is part of what we’ll be looking at," Lapointe said. "But it’s really too early to speculate at this point."
On the Facebook page allegedly belonging to Rouleau, one post is a quote from a U.S. soldier who served in Iraq: "We were told we were fighting terrorists, the real terrorist is me and the real terrorism is this occupation."
Another post references the black flags the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) display.
Despite the alleged incendiary posts on Facebook, Ray Boisvert, the former assistant director of intelligence with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) told CBC News that foiling actual violence before it occurs can be difficult if plans are never communicated.
"The question for authorities is, when did that person go from just doing a collage of information to actually thinking about active attack planning? That's the big challenge."