The man who deliberately hit pedestrians with his van in Amqui, Gaspésie, will ultimately face charges of first degree murder.

Steeve Gagnon, who surrendered to the police in the moments following the Amqui attack, was initially charged with dangerous driving causing death on March 14 at the Quebec courthouse. The Crown prosecutor had, however, been clear: heavier charges were to be expected as the police investigation progressed.

The ax fell on Tuesday. The 38-year-old man is now charged with three counts of premeditated murder – the most serious in the Criminal Code – those of Gérald Charest, Jean Lafrenière and Simon-Guillaume Bourget.

Gagnon is also charged with nine attempted murders, including two against children. These counts relate to pedestrians who survived the attack. The 12 victims were walking peacefully on the sidewalk in downtown Amqui when a driver driving a van hit them for several tens of meters.

Steve Gagnon is due to appear Wednesday morning at the Amqui courthouse for his release investigation.