A city bus driver is facing first-degree murder charges after his vehicle rammed into a daycare center in a Montreal suburb on Wednesday, killing two children and injuring six others.
Police did not give a cause for the crash but filed murder and assault charges against Pierre Ny St-Amand, 51. Authorities said the driver has worked for the transit system for 10 years and does not have a criminal record.
The six children who were taken to hospital did not have life-threatening injuries, police said.
The incident happened at about 8:30 a.m., when kids are usually dropped off by their parents at daycare centers. Authorities did not confirm the children’s ages, but according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, about 80 kids under the age of 5 attend that daycare facility.
News of the tragedy at the Sainte Rose daycare in Laval spread through the suburban area known better for its historic houses.
“It’s a tight-knit community,” said Christopher Skeete, who represents Sainte Rose in Quebec’s National Assembly. “The fact that something like that would happen is devastating.”
Eyewitnesses say St.-Amand exited the bus following the crash, ripped his clothes off, and began screeming.
“He was just yelling; there were no words coming out of his mouth,” said Hamdi Benchaabane according to an AP News report.
Officials are still searching for a motive in the attack.
“When you leave your children at the daycare for the day, you know that they’re in good hands … when an event like that can happen, it shakes us and shatters us,” Quebec’s Families Minister Suzanne Roy said, speaking to reporters near the scene of the incident.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as Quebec Premier Francois Legault, expressed condolences to families after the incident.
“No words can take away the pain and fear that parents, children, and workers are feeling – but we are here for you,” Trudeau said.
Laval is about 20 miles northwest of Montreal in Quebec, Canada‘s second most-populous province.
Copyright 2023 Thomson/Reuters. Additions and edits for FISM News by Michael Cardinal.