A firefighter comforts a child after a city bus driver crashed into a Laval daycare. Photo by Patrick Sanfaçon, LA PRESSE via The Canadian Press.
Two children are dead and six more injured after a city bus driver intentionally drove his vehicle into a Quebec daycare, police say.
The incident happened in Laval, a city just outside of Montreal, around 8:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday morning. The six injured children are not in critical condition.
Police have arrested 51-year-old Pierre Ny St-Amand. According to CTV News, St-Amand already faces a myriad of charges for the incident including homicide and dangerous driving. St-Amand has been working for the Laval transit system for over 10 years now.
Sources speaking to multiple news outlets said that St-Amand was acting erratically leading up to the crash. An unnamed parent who witnessed the crash told CTV that the driver appeared to accelerate as he approached the building and said “It was clear he wasn’t in his right mind at that moment.”
“He was yelling, he didn’t stop yelling,” Hamdi Ben Chaabane, a neighbour who witnessed the crash and helped in the aftermath, told CTV News. “The first thing he did was take off all his clothes after opening the bus door … He was just yelling, there were no words coming out of his mouth.”
“He opened the door. He took off all his clothes. He was totally naked,” Chaabane told CBC. “We don’t know why he did that. We dove on him. We tried to subdue him.”
The bus destroyed the front facade of the building. People who witnessed the attack painted a chaotic scene with parents scrambling to get information on whether or not their child was safe. Chaabane said people were attempting to free children from the rubble before being told to clear the area by firefighters who were worried the building’s roof may collapse.
Support for the children and parents impacted by the crash has started to flow in.
“There is nothing worse than being afraid for your child,” Quebec Premier Francois Legault wrote on Twitter. “I am thinking of the children, parents and employees.”