Laval Police Chief Pierre Brochet refused to comment on the mental or physical state of the suspect.
“It’s dangerous, risky, because false information can undermine the investigation,” he said.
A police spokesperson said the injuries to the six children were not life-threatening.
Police and city officials declined to say whether the bus was travelling along its normally scheduled route at the time of the crash. Normally, the 151 bus travels north along Terrace Dufferin, a long, straight, quiet road, passing a school, parks and homes before turning at a cul-de-sac and doubling back.
On Wednesday morning, it appears, the bus made a sharp right turn into the parking lot of the daycare, which has spots for 80 children, and made deadly impact.
Throughout the day, municipal and provincial officials dropped by to express their concern for the children, the daycare workers and the families affected by the incident.
“It’s my riding. It’s my hometown,” said Christopher Skeete, who represents the riding of Sainte-Rose in the Quebec legislature. “You drop your kids off at the daycare and you expect you’re going to be able to go and pick them up. I think everybody who’s listening today should hold their kids a little tighter. It’s a sad day.”
Mario Sirois, another man who lives next to the daycare, said he was among the first on the scene and helped stop the suspect as he tried to flee.
“It can’t be an accident,” Sirois said. “There were no signs of skid marks. It was deliberate. He went directly into the daycare.”
Sirois’s wife, Ginette Lamoureux, described a scene of horror inside the daycare. “The children were screaming and crying, they were all in a room … A mother arrived and collapsed,” she said. “The policewoman was trying to calm her down. I left, I was no longer able.”
Benchaabane said he was able to help pull one child from the daycare, adding that he and the others tried to save a second child before firefighters ordered them to leave because pieces of the roof were at risk of falling.
“It was a nightmare, I can’t believe it,” Benchaabane said of what he witnessed. “It was horrible.”
Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer said the driver has worked for the transit agency for about 10 years and had no incidents of note on his file. “There is a theory that it was an intentional act, but that remains to be confirmed by the investigation,” Boyer said.
Earlier Wednesday, Quebec Premier François Legault said his thoughts are with the children and their families, as well as with the employees of the daycare. “We are going to give the parents all the help we can, and as a father, I am shaken.” Legault's said on Twitter that he will visit Laval on Thursday.
In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said federal officials are following the situation closely. “Our thoughts are with families in Laval who are living incredibly difficult moments.”