On the night of September 4, 2012, the Parti Québécois won the Quebec general election, with a minority government. Party leader Pauline Marois was partway through her victory speech to her supporters, gathered at the Métropolis in downtown Montreal, when a masked man approached the building and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, killing one stage technician and injuring another. The man then attempted to set fire to the building, but was quickly tackled and apprehended by Montreal police, in a nearby alley.
A man named Richard Henry Bain was identified as the suspect in the shooting. In 2016, Bain was convicted of second-degree murder.
A heavyset man wearing a blue bathrobe and black balaclava approached the back door of the Métropolis theatre with a 9mm Luger P08 semiautomatic pistol and a Česká Zbrojovka-858 semiautomatic rifle. Initial eyewitness reports claimed the rifle was an AK-47 assault rifle, which is similar in appearance to the semiautomatic CZ-858. The man opened fire, killing Denis Blanchette, a 48-year-old male stage technician. His 27-year-old colleague, Dave Courage, was critically wounded.
Marois was whisked away from the stage without harm by her bodyguards, and the suspect was apprehended and arrested, shortly after he had started a fire at the back entrance of the building. While being led to the police vehicle during his arrest, the suspect infamously called out "The English are waking up!" and "It's going to be fucking payback." Although in 2012 it was reported the shooter used a Molotov cocktail, it was later alleged he poured gasoline on a door and ignited it with a road flare. Several families living in the area had to be evacuated out of their homes due to the fire, which was quickly doused. The Sûreté du Québec announced that the shooting would be investigated as a potential attempted assassination on Marois, the then-premier-designate.
The suspect was Richard Henry Bain, 62, from La Conception, Laurentides, Quebec. Police searched Bain's vehicle and found a 9mm Beretta pistol, a .357 Magnum revolver, a .22-calibre semi-automatic rifle, and more lighter fluid and gas canisters that could have been used for the fire.
Bain faced 16 charges, including one first-degree murder and three of attempted murder; the remnant charges are related to arson and weapons violations. In several of the multiple court hearings, Bain claimed that Jesus Christ is his lawyer. After losing his legal aid lawyer, he looked for a new lawyer and read up on the criminal code to represent himself. He had a hearing scheduled on March 12.
With Alan Guttman as his new defence lawyer, Bain's trial was delayed to May 2016 while Guttman sought an expert to perform another psychiatric evaluation of Bain. Guttman claimed that Bain was on anti-depressants with side effects on personality and hallucinations.
During the trial, Guttman argued the defendant was not criminally responsible. However, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Joel Watts, called by the Crown, testified Bain understood his actions were wrong.
On August 23, 2016 Bain was found guilty of second-degree murder. Sentencing arguments were heard in September 2016. On November 18, 2016 Bain was sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole until he has served twenty (20) years of that sentence.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that he was 'shocked and saddened' by the shooting, and that "such violence has no place in Canada". At a party caucus meeting in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Democratic Party Leader Thomas Mulcair issued the following statement: "Our first thoughts are with the victims and their families and those that were close to them. We're going to continue to let the police do their work before commenting any further on these tragic events." On September 6, it was reported that Denis Blanchette would be given a civic funeral. The funeral was held on September 10, with Marois and former premier Bernard Landry among the dignitaries in attendance. Équipe Spectra also organized a benefit concert in memory of Blanchette, with funds to support Blanchette's four-year-old daughter.