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Police officers investigate the scene in Amqui, Que., on March 14. The driver of a pickup truck that killed two people and injured six others in the eastern Quebec town of Amqui acted deliberately and with premeditation, running down victims who ranged in age from a baby to a 77-year-old, police said Tuesday.Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

The driver of a pickup truck who police allege deliberately drove into 11 pedestrians on a sidewalk in Amqui, Que., on Monday, killing two, has been charged with dangerous driving causing death, as the tight-knit Quebec community mourns and looks for answers.

Steeve Gagnon, 38, did not speak during his appearance at the local courthouse on Tuesday. He will remain detained until his next appearance on April 5. His lawyer, Hugo Caissy, said his client understood the two charges against him.

The Crown said more charges will follow once prosecutors receive all the evidence from police.

The two victims who have died were identified by provincial police as Gérald Charest, 65, and Jean Lafrenière, 73. Authorities fear for the lives of three other seriously injured victims, who remain in hospital.

Among the six other injured pedestrians were two small children, one of them less than a year old and the other about 3, said Sûreté du Québec spokesperson Sergeant Claude Doiron. The children’s injuries were not considered life-threatening. On Monday night, a crumpled baby stroller could be seen off the side of the road behind police tape.

It’s the second time this year in Quebec that a vehicle was used in an apparently random attack – after a fatal and allegedly deliberate bus crash at a Laval daycare in February – prompting a discussion among politicians about how to prevent such tragedies.

Monday’s attack happened around 3 p.m., when Mr. Gagnon allegedly drove his truck onto the sidewalk of Saint-Benoit Boulevard in downtown Amqui, a town of 6,000 about 400 kilometres northeast of Quebec City.

He continued to strike pedestrians for several hundred metres, said Sgt. Doiron, and apparently chose his alleged victims at random. They ranged in age from less than one to 77. The driver turned himself in to police shortly after.

Quebec provincial police said earlier they believe the suspect acted deliberately and with premeditation, but they did not suggest a motive.

Resident Jean-François Gagnon (no relation) witnessed the carnage when he arrived at the site of the alleged attack near the hotel he co-owns, shortly after the violence ended.

“There was a man who was dead next to me, a hundred feet from me, there was someone being resuscitated – he died – there were people all around screaming, there were ambulances everywhere,” he said.

One of the men who was killed, Mr. Charest, was a “nice man” who was recently retired and liked going for walks with his partner, Mr. Gagnon said.

“Everyone is grieving,” he added. “The city is paralyzed.”

Mr. Gagnon was booed and heckled by a small group of protesters as he arrived at the local courthouse.

Politicians gathered at the scene of the tragedy to offer words of support to the town on Tuesday.

“Amqui is a community that is crying,” said Pascal Bérubé, who represents the region in the provincial legislature.

Mayor Sylvie Blanchette urged residents to seek mental health support.

“We still have adrenalin,” she said. “But there will be a tomorrow and there will be a day after tomorrow.“

Public Security Minister François Bonnardel said his government would not consider imposing restrictions on driver’s licences for certain mentally ill people, after he had floated the idea earlier in the day.

“This murderous madness is hard to prevent,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday. “We can put everything in place, and then tomorrow morning someone can decide once again to get into a car, into a truck, and strike.”

The tragedy happened less than six weeks after two young children were killed when a driver crashed a city bus into a daycare in Laval, north of Montreal. The 51-year-old bus driver is facing first-degree murder charges in that alleged attack.

Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the opposition Parti Québécois, said in a press conference that the province must consider all possible solutions to such attacks.

“It’s incomprehensible, but that’s twice that such gratuitous violence has cost lives.”

With a report from The Canadian Press