SHERBROOKE, – A 57-year-old Quebec man was arrested early Thursday for allegedly threatening two mayors, including one who has been in the news recently for encouraging people to support and understand Muslims.
Sherbrooke police alleged the man threatened the city’s mayor, Bernard Sevigny, as well as Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume, as they watched a hockey game Wednesday night.
The two leaders were escorted out of the arena.
Police also said the man allegedly threatened to attack mosques in the Sherbrooke region.
The suspect, Rejean Hurdle, was arrested in an apartment after an altercation with police.
He was charged Thursday with three counts related to his arrest: resisting two peace officers, threatening them and assaulting a third.
The judge also ordered Hurdle to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before he returns to court Feb. 16.
Crown prosecutor Isabelle Dorion said authorities are still investigating the alleged threats against the mayors and the mosques.
A Sherbrooke police spokesman said officers overheard someone making threatening remarks as he spoke to a 911 operator on his cellphone.
“As you understand we intervened very quickly, and the man strongly resisted arrest and hit police officers,” Martin Carrier said.
At a news conference, Sevigny said he’d never felt his life was in danger but that authorities took the threat “very seriously” in light of the deadly mosque shootings in Quebec City on Jan. 29.
“There’s zero tolerance for people who make these kind of threats,” he said.
“We will respond rapidly and deploy all the necessary manpower, and that’s what we’ve done here.”
Labeaume has been highly visible in the aftermath of the mosque attack that killed six men. He spoke at two funerals for the victims and was clearly emotional as he discussed the need to embrace the Muslim community.
Police forces in Quebec have said they’ve seen a spike in reports of hate crimes since the shooting.
Meanwhile, Montreal police announced Thursday the arrest of a man in connection with an act of vandalism at one of the city’s mosques.
A window at the Khadijah centre was smashed and had eggs thrown at it last Thursday, the same day as a funeral was held for three of the six mosque victims.
The man is due in court on Friday and could be charged with mischief against a place of worship.
— With files from Cogeco