UPDATE: 26-year-old man charged with attempted murder, assault in stabbing of Montreal priest

Megan Trudeau | March 24, 2019 in National News

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(Update: March 24, 2019 @ 8:30 a.m.) - A 26-year old man has been charged with attempted murder in the stabbing of a Catholic priest during morning mass at Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory on Friday.

The suspect has been identified as Vlad Cristian Eremia, who appeared in a Montreal courtroom via videoconference Saturday afternoon.

Photo credit: The Canadian Press

In addition to attempted murder, he was also charged with assault with a weapon for allegedly attacking 77-year-old Father Claude Grou with a knife.

Eremia, who wore a blue-and-white checked shirt, did not speak during his brief appearance other to confirm he was represented by a legal aid lawyer.

The Crown objected to his release and requested he receive a psychosocial evaluation before his bail hearing, which is expected to take place Monday.

Crown prosecutor Genevieve Belanger said the evaluation was requested in order to assess the accused’s mental state.

Grou was released from hospital on Friday night, and has been recovering from home since the attack. 

Police have said that there's no evidence to link the suspect to any kind of group, and did not suggest a motive for the attack. 

(Update: March 23, 2019 @ 9:30 a.m.) - Father Claude Grou is now out of the hospital and recovering at home after being attacked during mass yesterday morning at Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory, the largest church in Canada. 

The suspect is set to appear in court today to face charges that have yet to be announced, but could range from assault to attempted murder.  

Police have said that there's no evidence to link the suspect to any kind of group, and did not suggest a motive for the attack. 

A spokeswoman for the church says Rev. Claude Grou was released from hospital last night and says he is doing well under the circumstances.

The incident began shortly after 8:30 a.m. yesterday when a man with a knife rushed the sanctuary of the landmark church and stabbed the 77-year-old priest. A 26-year-old man was arrested at the scene.

Oratory spokeswoman Danielle Decelles says the church’s usual security will be in place for Sunday mass, and police will provide an increased presence in the coming days to ensure worshippers feel safe.

(Original story: March 22, 2019)

A priest was stabbed this morning while delivering mass at Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal.

The priest, Father Claude Grou, was attacked at 8:30 a.m., said the church in a statement. His life is now out of danger, they added.

Montreal police said a 911 call was placed at around 8:40 a.m. When officers arrived at the landmark church, a male suspect was already detained by security guards.

Police spokeswoman Caroline Chevrefils says the victim suffered minor injuries to his upper body and was taken to hospital. The suspect is being questioned by police.

Video was captured of the attack, at the church was livestreaming the mass. Roughly 60 people were present at the mass.

As shown in the video, Grou crumpled to the ground after the attack, but reportedly appeared to be alert when paramedics wheeled him to an ambulance about 15 minutes later.

“What a horrible and inexcusable gesture that has no place in Montreal,” said Valerie Plante, mayor of Montreal. She added that she is relieved that he is safe, and that his condition is stable.

“On behalf of all Montrealers, I wish him a speedy recovery.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also commented on the attack, wishing Grou a swift recovery.

-With files from the Canadian Press.

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