Hundreds of Quebecers wept openly Thursday as they visited a makeshift memorial stacked with teddy bears, flowers and notes of condolence after the shocking deaths of two children in a day care near Montreal.
Six other children were injured when a city bus in Laval, Quebec, crashed into the day care Wednesday.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, attending a community vigil at a church not far from the day care, spoke of the grief the entire country felt along with the families of the children lost.
“I reflect on the incredible loss the families are feeling right now, on the hundreds of thousands of parents who dropped their kids off at day cares across the country this morning, holding them a little tighter and reflecting on the senselessness of this tragedy,” Trudeau said, surrounded by other mourners in front of the church.
The province’s premier also visited the community to offer aid and condolences Thursday.
“Of course it’s tough, because we’re talking about children and there’s nothing more important than children,” said Premier François Legault, visibly moved as he visited with community members.
His words echoed the grief of many, as family members continue to look for answers as to why the city driver would crash his bus into the front of a day care.
The suspect remains in the hospital under psychiatric evaluation and is expected to appear in court February 17.
Police have removed the bus from the scene and are still investigating the area on the quiet cul-de-sac where the incident occurred.
Quebec prosecutors say 51-year-old Pierre Ny St-Amand faces two counts of first-degree murder and several other charges in connection with the deaths of the children.
First-degree murder charges would indicate prosecutors do not believe this was an accident. However, Laval police said Wednesday they do not know of a possible motive and that the investigation continues.
In Canada’s capital, Ottawa, the lawmaker who represents the Quebec community, Yves Robillard, wept several times as he read a statement in Canada’s parliament.
“This is very sad, my thoughts are with the children, their families and the day care staff,” Robillard said in French. “I am deeply saddened.”
“I want to thank the first responders, firefighters, police officers, paramedics and the community members who were present at the scene,” he said as lawmakers rose to their feet in the chamber.