Canadian car attacker was suspected radical: officials

A Surete du Quebec officer investigates an overturned vehicle in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on October 20, 2014. Two Canadian soldiers were injured in a hit-and-run on Monday by a male driver who was later shot dead by police officers. -- PHOT
A Surete du Quebec officer investigates an overturned vehicle in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on October 20, 2014. Two Canadian soldiers were injured in a hit-and-run on Monday by a male driver who was later shot dead by police officers. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

MONTREAL (AFP) - A young man killed by police on Monday after he ran over two Canadian soldiers with his car in a Quebec parking lot was known to authorities as a suspected radical, federal officials said.

One of the two soldiers is in critical condition in the hospital in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, some 40km south-east of Montreal, while the other was not as seriously injured, officials have said.

The incident occurred shortly before noon, when a car smashed into the two soldiers in a supermarket parking lot before fleeing with police in pursuit.

A few kilometres away, the driver lost control of his car and flipped into a ditch on the side of the road.

A witness said the driver was holding a knife and headed towards police after he extricated himself from his vehicle.

Police shot multiple times at the suspect, a 25-year-old man, who later died.

The suspect was known to "federal authorities including our Integrated National Security Investigations team in Montreal", who "were concerned that he had become radicalised," the police said in a statement.

However, the investigation into the incident was ongoing, the statement noted, and federal police were working with law enforcement partners "to ensure all avenues of investigation are pursued".

The incident had drawn political attention when conservative lawmaker Randy Hoback referred to "unconfirmed reports of a possible terror attack" in a question to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House of Commons.

"We are aware of these reports, and they are obviously extremely troubling," Harper replied.

"We're closely monitoring the situation and obviously we will make available all the resources of the federal government," he added.