Skip to main content

Michael Zehaf Bibeau

The day Michael Zehaf-Bibeau arrived in Ottawa, he went to the Libyan embassy to renew his passport, but officials were wary because of his demeanour and discrepancies in his identification.

It was Oct. 2, three weeks before the 32-year-old dual citizen would go on a shooting spree on Parliament Hill.

Mr. Bibeau walked into the 10th floor office in downtown Ottawa, which is lined with red carpet and adorned with Libyan artwork.

He told officials he wanted to go visit siblings and friends in Libya. Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau, whose father is Libyan, was issued a Libyan passport in 2000. Embassy records show Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau had last been to that country in 2007.

"His general demeanor was not appropriate just judging from the way he was dressed, the way he was behaving, his body language was not appropriate. That led … them to doubt his character – his motivations," said first secretary Yousef Furgani through a translator. "Whenever people come to the embassy they try to dress their best. He was dressed very casual."

Mr. Furgani said they didn't sense any "radicalization."

Mr. Furgani met personally with Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau to evaluate his application. He asked him questions about his parents and why he travelled to Ottawa from Vancouver to apply for the passport renewal rather than file online, which is typical.

Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau didn't provide a clear answer. He told officials his parents were divorced and that he wasn't in regular contact with either of them.

When officials pulled Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau's file, they found his Canadian driver's licence listed a different first name – Michael – than his Libyan passport – Abdel, spelling unknown – and that the two photos looked slightly different. All of this raised red flags in the embassy. Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was told it would take three to four weeks, perhaps longer, to process his application.

When he considered the prolonged wait, Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was decisive in his response. "I do not want to proceed," Mr. Furgani recalled him saying.

The 32-year-old left the office and embassy officials say he did not come back.

Over the next three weeks, Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau spent time at a downtown Ottawa shelter where he told residents he was in town to fix passport issues.

At about 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday, Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau gunned down Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial.

According to Mr. Furgani, the embassy has passed on all of Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau's information to authorities, although no one from the RCMP has visited the office.