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'No indication' radicalized Quebec man was violent, lawyer says

QMI Agency

The lawyer for the man who ran down two soldiers south of Montreal this week, killing one of them, described her client as a "very calm, even friendly" man.

"There was no indication that he would do such a thing," said Patricia Gauthier, who was representing 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau in a child custody case.

Couture-Rouleau alleged his ex-wife was preventing him from being able to see their child because he had converted to Islam in April 2013.

"The applicant is Muslim and believes (his former wife) refuses him access to (their child) for that reason alone," court documents filed Oct. 14 say.

He and his former spouse were due in court Nov. 5.

Gauthier said her client's change in faith was "a way for him to see life as he pleased. He never seemed violent."

Couture-Rouleau, who changed his first name to Ahmad, also had financial problems.

He was living with his father in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, near Montreal, when he declared bankruptcy in February. He was part owner of an industrial cleaning company that was not doing well, and he owed nearly $22,000, but had just $452 in his bank account, QMI Agency has learned.

On Facebook and Twitter, he used the names Ahmad Rouleau and Abu Ibrahim AlCanadi. His Twitter profile photo was the ISIS flag. A Facebook page believed to be Couture-Rouleau's included verses from the Qur'an about fighting for Allah, as well as Islamist YouTube clips.

But that alone wasn't enough to have him charged with anything, police said.

Mounties confirmed Tuesday they took Couture-Rouleau's passport after he tried to fly to Turkey, a common transit point for Westerners who want to go to Syria. Police tried to have his parents and his imam from the Al-Imane mosque in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu talk to him. Even after meeting with him as recently as Oct. 9, police did not think he was a threat.

On Monday, Couture-Rouleau ran down two soldiers with his car, killing 53-year-old warrant officer Patrice Vincent and sending a second man to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He was shot and killed by police after a short chase.

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