Swept up in chaos, innocent man accused in Quebec terror attack
In the chaos of a catastrophe, it was the shadow that came into Mohamed Belkhadir’s view and the human instinct to save himself that landed the young man in jail.
According to his account of the ordeal, the 29-year-old was swept up in the panic of the murderous shooting at Centre Culturel Islamique Québec on Sunday night. Taken into police custody as one of two shooters police alleged were behind the killings, he spent a night in jail and pondered losing his good name, his dreams and his freedom, before terrorism investigators realized they had made a grievous error.
In fact, Belkhadir’s actions in the face of the carnage make him more hero than killer.
“I was trying to give first aid to my friend who was on the ground. I saw an image that was carrying a gun. I got scared. It was an image of a man who had a gun. I didn’t know it was a police officer. I thought it was a shooter who had come back,” the 29-year-old Université Laval student told reporters upon his return home from jail.
The bespectacled, bearded young man asked not to be photographed, but told his tale with humility and understanding for the terrorism investigators who held him in custody for more than 12 hours.
Belkhadir had skipped out just ahead of the several dozen others who had come to the mosque for evening prayers. He was clearing snow from the steps of the building and so engrossed in his task that he didn’t notice the armed man enter through the front doors.
When the gunfire erupted — lasting perhaps 15 or 20 seconds — instinct kicked in. He said he ran inside the building to call 9-1-1 and then he attended to an acquaintance who had been injured in the frenzy. Belkhadir lay a jacket over the man to try and keep him warm as they waited for help to arrive.
Please share this. Many American news networks falsely reported that he was a shooter and they aren’t correcting themselves. This man was a hero who was trying to help and just got caught up in the investigation temporarily.