Authorities say Mohamed Derouiche may have played a role in Couture-Rouleau’s radicalization
Last Updated Thursday, January 22, 2015 7:53AM EST
The RCMP is investigating a link to a St-Leonard criminal in the terror attack that lead to the death of a soldier in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu in October.
The attacker, Martin Couture-Rouleau, was shot by police shortly after he ran down Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent with his car, killing him and injuring another soldier.
Soon after, the RCMP revealed it had been aware Couture-Rouleau had recently become ‘radicalized.’
According to La Presse, authorities now say 28-year-old Mohamed Derouiche may have played a role in Couture-Rouleau’s radicalization.
“On the same date of the attack in St. Jean sur Richelieu on October 20th, the RCMP found out in Martin Couture-Rouleau’s cell phone that he had electronic contacts with another individual, a known criminal known to police,” said Vincent Larouche, a journalist with La Presse.
Derouiche has an extensive criminal record for which he served time behind bars, mostly for thefts and breach of conditions.
“We don’t know how they got into contact. What the police do know is that they knew each other, they were friends and Mr. Derouiche had an influence over Mr. Couture-Rouleau,” said Larouche.
Police are trying to determine if Derouiche played a part in the radicalization of Couture-Rouleau.
The RCMP is seeking to build a case against Derouiche, who is currently behind bars for a long list of petty crimes – all while he claims innocence.
Derouiche’s defence attorney said his client was outraged by the RCMP’s allegations.
It’s not unusual to see petty criminals turn to radical religious ideas, explained Jocelyn Belanger, a Universite de Montreal radicalization expert.
“We know that approximately 25 per cent of people in prison for terrorism have some kind of criminal records, but what’s most interesting is that while in prison, that’s where we see radicalization occurring,” said Belanger.