Montreal rector released from hospital; suspect evaluated

Tuesday, April 02, 2019 - Updated: 12:39 pm

MONTREAL (CNS) — Father Claude Grou, the rector of St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal who was stabbed during a Mass March 22, has been released from the hospital.

Vlad Cristian Eremia, the 26-year-old suspect in the attack, which was caught on film, is accused of attempted murder. Prosecutors and the defense agreed he should have a psychiatric evaluation. The judge sent him to the Institut Philippe-Pinel for the evaluation; he is scheduled to return to court April 26.

After his release March 23, Father Grou issued a statement of thanks for all the messages of support.

“My health is good and I’m recovering from my emotions,” he said. He called the messages heartwarming and said they allowed him “to face these difficult moments serenely.”

“I pray that St. Joseph’s Oratory will remain a place of welcome, prayer, calm and peace as it has been for over 100 years, and I look forward to returning to work,” he said. He added that he holds “no resentment” against the suspect, and wishes him “peace.”

During the 8:30 a.m. Mass in the crypt March 22, a tall, light-skinned man wearing a white hat walked toward Father Grou and stabbed him in the stomach.

“At the end of the psalm, just before the ... Gospel, there is this guy who comes from who-knows-where — I only film the front of the crypt — and who moves rather quickly,” said Dinh Khoi Vu, who directed the morning Mass at the Oratory for Salt and Light Television.

“Father Grou saw him coming with his knife. He had the reaction to move to the side, but he was still touched,” he added.

“The knife fell. The aggressor was no longer able to pick it up. Many faithful rushed to hold him back. “

Father Grou got up, and members of the security service managed to control the attacker.

Fifty people were gathered in the crypt of St. Joseph’s Oratory.

“Father Grou left the oratory, sitting in a wheelchair,” to the applause of some people, relieved to see that he was still conscious, explained Vu.

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