MONTREAL - There was less of the lofty symbolism in the hit-and-run killing of Warrant Office Patrice Vincent at the hands of a radicalized convert to Islam than the storming of Parliament Hill two days later. But there was just as much damage done.
So as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo is buried, 600 kilometres away in Montreal, a group of professional Muslim women intend not to hide away in fear of backlash, but take to the streets Tuesday night with candles and their sympathies.
“We were all shocked and saddened by the tragedy that took place, first of all for Patrice Vincent and then the incident in Ottawa. We felt we needed to stand united in this with all the rest of Canadians in grief and sadness for the loss of our soldiers,” said Gulnar Mousa, one of the organizers of the 6 p.m. candlelight vigil.
Vincent was a 28-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, starting as a combat engineer in 1985, becoming a military firefighter. In that role, he was posted to bases in Comox, B.C., Edmonton, Trenton and North Bay; he also served aboard five different naval vessels.
“He was proud to be a firefighter and the fact that his job involved protecting others who needed it,” said the Canadian Military Engineer’s Association in a statement.
After being slowed down by a recent open-heart surgery, Vincent was wrapping up his career working with sick and injured soldiers at the Joint Personnel Support Unit in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
It was in the parking lot of his office that the suspect, 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau, struck Vincent with his vehicle. Another soldier suffered minor injuries in the attack and, after flipping his vehicle following a brief chase, Couture-Rouleau was shot dead by police.
Vincent’s family released a statement last Friday: “Patrice was a bon vivant. He appreciated everything and it was with passion that he spoke about his work with the Canadian air force. Serving for him was a way to make a difference in our world,” the family said, declining interview requests.
Vincent will receive a full military funeral on Saturday in the town of Longueuil, south of Montreal.