Personal woes plagued Canadian Islam convert who killed soldier: Records, lawyer

SAINT-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, Quebec (Reuters) - A Canadian convert to Islam shot dead by police in Quebec after running over and killing a soldier with his car had launched a custody case for his young son only three days earlier, court records show.

In his final Facebook post that day, the 25-year-old convert, Martin Rouleau-Couture, changed his profile picture to an image of two doors, one opening to a sunlit heaven and the other to a fiery hell. "Martin was petitioning the court to be able to visit his child," his lawyer Patricia Gauthier told Reuters on Tuesday. He had just started the case against his former partner.

Living with his father in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, near Montreal, Rouleau had been plagued also by business troubles. Quebec business registry records showed he co-owned a struggling industrial cleaning company.

The Toronto Star said his business had been robbed about 11/2 years ago and he was enraged by his inability to get the police to take action against the culprit.

Police said he rammed two soldiers with his car on Monday, killing one of them.

On Tuesday, the police said they had had several meetings with him, most recently on Oct 9, after his family expressed concern about him. In July he was stopped while trying to leave for Turkey and had his passport confiscated.

At the Oct 9 meeting, the police said he gave them some reason to believe he would modify his behavior, so they stopped their surveillance.

His shift toward radical Islam was reflected on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, where he used the names Ahmad Rouleau and Abu Ibrahim AlCanadi. His profile picture on Twitter is the flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.

"I will not calm down until I will put one cheek of a tyrant on the ground and the other under my feet, and for the poor and weak I will put my cheek on the ground," he posted in April, quoting an early Muslim caliph, Umar Ibn Khattab.

It was his social media activity that caught the attention six months ago of Mr Amarnath Amarasingam, a researcher at Dalhousie University who has written about the foreign fighter phenomenon.

Speaking from Halifax, he said he watched the young man go from a convert quoting the Koran to an angry radical railing against Muslims allied with the United States.

On Tuesday, ISIS tweeter Abu Khalid Al-Kanadi, whose surname means "The Canadian", applauded the attack. "Muslims in Canada, follow the footsteps of our brave brother Martin Rouleau who took revenge for Canadian military aggression in our lands," he tweeted, an apparent reference to Canada's announcement this month it was joining the battle against ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria.

But a day after the attack, no group had claimed responsibility.

Quebec French-language newspaper LaPresse said Rouleau attended Al-Iman Mosque in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu about three times a week, starting a little less than a year ago, and ending two months ago. It quoted the president of the mosque.

The mosque was closed on Tuesday.

Friends told the Toronto Star they had tried for a year to help their friend who seemed lost to conspiracy theories. "It was bizarre and extreme. He was surely depressed," Mr Jonathan Prince told the Star. "I think he was depressed and that's what led him to it. It was weird. He was normal one day and then changed the next."