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A police officer at Edmonton's City Hall during an investigation on Jan. 23.JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Before he is alleged to have walked into Edmonton City Hall with a gun and explosives this week, Bezhani Sarvar was a security guard – someone his employer describes as a “good and reliable” worker who didn’t cause any concerns.

“We are surprised and shocked by the turn of events,” said Nick Grimshaw, CEO of the Commissionaires Northern Alberta Division, where Mr. Sarvar has worked for almost five years. “It’s a complete surprise for us, and those who have worked alongside him. It’s just a very difficult and disappointing situation on a lot of fronts.”

No one was injured in the Tuesday incident, which was a rare attack on a municipal building in Canada and happened during a Grade 1 class tour.

Mr. Sarvar, 28, who did not work security at City Hall, is currently in custody facing six charges over allegations that he fired several shots and discharged an incendiary device, believed to be a Molotov cocktail.

The attack ended when a guard – also employed by the Commissionaires – detained the gunman.

Police are also investigating a video circulating on social media, in which a man wearing a Commissionaires uniform sits in a car and speaks of embarking on a “mission.” Mr. Grimshaw confirmed that it appears to be Mr. Sarvar on the video.

“Before I do my mission, I want you all to know that I am not a psychopath,” the man says, speaking in a soft and measured voice. “I don’t believe in bloodshed. I am not one of these monsters that hurt children that are innocent, and that promote wars or harm the civilization of our society.”

His rambling list of concerns included “the tyranny and corruption taking over our society and our lives;” rising up against the “this wokeism disease;” inflation; the housing crisis; unrest because of multiculturalism; and “the genocide that’s going on in Gaza and around the world.” He also expressed concern about anybody who is destabilizing or hurting their communities; how tax dollars are spent; the need to promote healthy lifestyles; and people spending too much time on their phones.

Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee has said officers are reviewing the video and working with the specialized federal Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams, which investigate terrorism and threats to national security.

Mr. Sarvar appeared in court on Thursday and was remanded until Feb 2.

Chief McFee has said investigators believe the suspect acted alone and that there are no further concerns for public safety.

A surveillance video obtained by Global News showed a man carrying a large gun and moving erratically through a hallway, pointing the gun wildly around. Toward the end of the video, he dropped to his knees and tossed the firearm aside, then removed his coat and walked away, leaving the gun on the floor.

He was then detained by the City Hall guard until police arrived.

The Corps of Commissionaires is a non-profit security company that employs military and police veterans, former RCMP officers and civilians. Mr. Grimshaw said Mr. Sarvar was a civilian employee, and that he is not believed to have any military or police history.

Mr. Grimshaw said there were “no red flags that we were aware of” and no concerns around Mr. Sarvar in the workplace. He also confirmed that Mr. Sarvar has a young family.

“I’m not a psychologist, I’m not an expert on extremism or radicalization, and again, there are no indications as the employer of any of those beliefs at this point,” he said.

“There’s a lot of questions, a lot of uncertainty, and we have to let the investigation run its course,” Mr. Grimshaw said. “Just a very unfortunate and sad situation, and we’re just glad that nobody was injured.”

The commissionaire who detained Mr. Sarvar has not been publicly identified, but Mr. Grimshaw says he’s a military veteran who started working with the Commissionaires in February, and “took bold and brave action” that went above and beyond responding to the threat.

“He is your quintessential, humble professional that we have, and as a military veteran that just speaks to his character as well,” Mr. Grimshaw said. “You know, seven years as an infantry soldier and then joining the Corps of Commissionaires. He’s demonstrated a level of professionalism that is nothing but impressive.”

He said the man was back at work on Thursday.

“He’s a humble individual,” Mr. Grimshaw said. “He’s not looking for accolades and recognition, and just wants to get on with his job.”

The incident has prompted a review of security at Edmonton’s City Hall, which like many municipal buildings in the country is a relatively accessible space with few restrictions on people entering. It happened against the backdrop of rising threats against other Canadian politicians.

Edmonton’s Mayor Amarjeet Sohi has described the incident as shocking and traumatic. The Mayor said he wants to balance security and the safety of people working in the building while also keeping City Hall a place that’s part of the community.

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