Despite one death and one injury, the sergeant of the Sûreté du Québec responsible for protecting Pauline Marois on the evening of the Metropolis attack said he was “satisfied” with the work of his colleagues even if none of them ever saw the threat of a sniper coming.
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“Yes,” replied Frédéric Desgagnés without hesitation when he was asked if the agents responsible for detecting potential threats had worked well on the evening of the tragedy.
Sergeant Desgagnés testified at the civil trial of scene technicians who accuse the police of having poorly protected the public, this evening of September 4, 2012 when Richard Henry Bain committed a political attack. Dressed in a bathrobe and a shower cap, he had settled down behind the Metropolis, where the elected Premier Pauline Marois, of the Parti Québécois, was celebrating her victory.
And while Ms. Marois was making her speech, he showed up at the back of the building. He was able to fire one shot before his gun jammed, but the bullet was able to kill technician Denis Blanchette and injured Dave Courage. Bain then started a fire before fleeing and being arrested.
These four technicians, who were traumatized by the event, claim $600,000 in damages, arguing that if the police had done their job well, Bain would never have succeeded in committing his attack.
Dave Courage, who is not part of the civil suit, was also present today in support of his colleagues.
“I’m still in pain, but we deal with it, I try to stay positive. I’m surviving,” he briefly commented, saying he imagined the police “did their best that night, but sometimes it’s not enough.”
Photo Michael Nguyen
Like his colleagues before him, Sergeant Desgagnés felt that nothing could be done to prevent the tragedy, since no serious threat had been detected. In fact, that day, the only suspicious event that the witness remembers is the presence of “two suspicious-looking young men” who looked at him.
There would also have been a person with a flag of the Patriots, according to the witness.
Thus, when Richard Henry Bain fired a few dozen meters from Pauline Marois, this SQ official initially thought it was a confetti cannon, since he had seen it on the scene.
Then, when he saw the fire at the door that Ms. Marois was to use to leave the premises, he was not overly concerned.
“I remember it was brick and metal, there were no combustibles,” he said. I figured the fire would die down quickly. »
Swearing not to remember any potential threat against Pauline Marois at that time, he recalled that the shooter had not warned of the attack he was going to commit.
“It had gone undetected, it was an unpredictable and irrational event,” he said.
He also said that no one was watching Pauline Marois’ escape vehicle that evening, and that among all the police officers present in the Metropolis that evening, no one was responsible for protecting the public.
“Normally it is [la responsabilité] of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal,” he said.
He would also have had an informal meeting with two municipal police officers, about thirty minutes before the attack, but his memory is no longer fresh enough for him to remember.
“I don’t remember,” he repeated several times during his cross-examination by Me Virginie Dufresne-Lemire, who represents the stage technicians.
The trial continues this afternoon.