Misbahuddin Ahmed was a well-liked, married medical professional who was active in the same Montreal amateur ball-hockey scene as Khurram Syed Sher, one of his co-accused in a homegrown terrorism plot.
"I think anyone who knows these guys would be shocked," said Nauman Abbasi, a friend of both who played hockey with them. "These guys are very upstanding characters … ask anyone in Montreal." Mr. Ahmed and Mr. Sher, along with a third man alleged to be the group's ringleader, Hiva Alizadeh, were charged after a year-long investigation into was police say was a serious plot to manufacture improvised explosive devices.
Mr. Ahmed, 26, who is married with an infant child, has worked as an X-ray technician at the Ottawa Hospital's civic campus since he moved from Montreal two years ago. The hospital's diagnostic imaging director, Guy Morency, said he came with excellent references and was a model employee.
"The guy was doing nothing wrong from a work-related perspective. Came in every day on time for his shift and did a very good job," Mr. Morency said, adding that Mr. Ahmed was being trained to work the MRI machine.
Mr. Abbasi believes Mr. Ahmed's background is Indian-Pakistani, and that he was raised in Canada.
In 2000, he was living in Montreal and played on the winning team of the Montreal Muslim Ball Hockey Tournament. In May 2008, he and Mr. Sher both played on a team called the Mameluks, the Arabic term for a powerful Muslim military caste that existed until the 19th century. Mr. Ahmed ranked 16 out of 142 players that year.
He moved to Ottawa in 2008. According to property records, he lived in unit 217 of an apartment building at 220 Woodridge Crescent in the city's Bayshore neighbourhood. On Wednesday, police searched units of the same apartment building as part of the terrorism probe.
Recently, Mr. Ahmed and his young family moved to a rented townhouse on Esterlawn Private. Police also raided that address Wednesday morning, removing computer equipment. They scoured the family's blue 2009 Mazda sedan, according to witnesses.
Mr. Morency believes Mr. Ahmed worshipped at the Ottawa mosque on Northwestern Avenue. Staff there didn't return e-mails or phone calls for comment.
About four months ago, hospital security staff told Mr. Morency that Mr. Ahmed was being investigated by CSIS. Mr. Morency said he was assured no patients were at risk.
He was nevertheless surprised to hear of the allegations against Mr. Ahmed. "It's not something we're typically accustomed to on a day-to-day basis," he said.
Mr. Ahmed's lawyer, Ian Carter, could not provide details about his client, saying it was too early in the investigation. He expects to meet with Mr. Ahmed over the weekend.
Mr. Carter said Mr. Ahmed was doing well. "There's some shock, but I'd say he's holding up quite well, all things considered."