Skip to main content

Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent is shown in a Department of National Defence handout photo, released Tuesday, Oct.21, 2014.Department of National Defence/The Canadian Press

The family of the soldier who was killed in a hit-and-run in Quebec has reached out with a message of sympathy to the relatives of the suspected radical Islamist who struck him.

Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was fatally run over on Monday by a Nissan driven by Martin Couture-Rouleau, a Muslim convert whom the RCMP had investigated as an Islamic State sympathizer.

Mr. Couture-Rouleau was shot after the incident in a confrontation with police.

In a statement released on Friday, relatives of the slain soldier offered support for the family members of Mr. Couture-Rouleau, who had tried to deal with his increasingly militant views.

"Our thoughts … go to the Couture-Rouleau family, who are living through difficult moments," the statement said.

The statement also offered condolences to the family of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who was shot by a lone attacker on Wednesday in Ottawa.

"We share your sorrow and all our heart is with you."

The statement said WO Vincent was very proud to serve in the Canadian Forces.

"His loss leaves an immense void in our hearts," it said.

After nearly three decades in uniform, WO Vincent was just a few months shy of retiring from the military when he was killed on Monday.

WO Vincent's death was somewhat overshadowed by the dramatic events in Ottawa and by his family's decision to mourn privately.

One of his cousins, Sylvain Guérette, spoke to the media on Thursday to describe the 53-year-old WO Vincent as a helpful, generous man.

Mr. Guérette, who also served in the Canadian Forces and is now retired from the army, said his cousin was helping a fellow soldier when he died.

WO Vincent was a long-time military firefighter, who had served in bases from Victoria to Halifax.

He recently had open-heart surgery and was still convalescing. He was assigned to the Joint Personnel Support Unit, which helps people in the military and families of wounded or ailing soldiers.

"He couldn't work as a firefighter any more because of his heart. He wanted to go into woodworking," Mr. Guérette told Le Journal de Montréal.

On Monday, WO Vincent was accompanying a soldier to a Services Canada office to help him deal with paperwork. Around 11:30 a.m., Mr. Couture-Rouleau, who had been waiting in the parking lot, gunned his Nissan at the soldiers, killing WO Vincent and injuring his companion.

Mr. Guérette said the family knew that WO Vincent's military career could put him in harm's way but did not expect he would die so near his home in Sainte-Julie, south of Montreal.

"He didn't deserve to die like that. He was dedicated to his country, to his trade," Mr. Guérette told CTV.

He said WO Vincent leaves his mother and a twin sister.