A refuge in the heart of horror

Sunday, 8 pm. Louis-Gabriel Cloutier is about to put the key in the door of the bakery La Boite a pain on chemin Sainte-Foy. But four men, without coats or boots, come out of the mosque and panic. They flee the shots. Mr. Cloutier left the trade open. The bakery did not close at night, becoming a press room, meeting place and decompression zone.

At the end of the wire, Thursday, four days after this night of horror, Louis-Gabriel Cloutier did not want to see the spotlight directed at him. Not want to take any credit for his decision to stay open during the evening when everything has changed.

“We were glad the world had a place to gather. It has become like a kind of funeral vigil, “said humbly the assistant-manager of the bakery, who refused to be photographed.

But this gesture was more than a humble spontaneous contribution. The Sun was the bread box that night. Towards midnight, when the number of victims had not yet been confirmed, Louis-Gabriel Cloutier offered free liters of coffee and croissants, a little heat and valuable prizes to recharge the flat phones of citizens and journalists Flooded with notifications. The planet wanted to know what was happening after this senseless attack in a mosque in Quebec City, usually so peaceful. And that night, the eyes of the whole world pointed unknowingly to this warm neighborhood bakery.

People were discussing, looking elsewhere, journalists were trying to see clearly. Two heavily armed policemen were circulating for a short pause. The scene had something surreal about it. Louis-Gabriel Cloutier stayed there, filling the coffee reservoirs. He categorically rejected the $ 2 that the author of these lines attempted to offer her. That will be his contribution.

At about 0:30, the announcement of a nocturnal press briefing with Prime Minister Philippe Couillard, the mayor of Quebec Regis Labeaume and the Minister of Public Security Martin Coiteux is confirmed. The reporters and cameramen are agitated. Finally, a spokeswoman for the Surete du Quebec will speak before about 0:45. And the verdict will fall: six dead, eight wounded.

At the same time, some citizens improvise a vigil in tribute to the victims a stone’s throw from the bakery. Employees of the trade will carry them bits of baguette of bread. And offer it to the policemen in that increasingly icy night.

Away from the media

Afterwards, for a few days, the baker will make a kind of voluntary media eclipse on the shooting of the mosque.

“It was my last day before a few days off. I was glad that it was there, I needed to unpack. I did not open the radio, not open the TV. I only read a few newspaper articles, “recounted Mr. Cloutier Sun Thursday, so it was back to the production of bread, croissants and coffee.

A retreat that kept him away from the questions, discussions about the attack that is, since, on the lips of all customers.

A time of personal decompression, a retreat for the one who was, in spite of himself, in the front rows of the drama occurred a few meters from this door that he will never locked on this evening of January 29, 2017.

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