The attack on Parliament Hill’s Centre Block and the National War Memorial has left one Canadian soldier and one male suspect dead.
During an address to the nation, Prime Minster Stephen Harper said the incident in Ottawa was a 'terrorist' act. Mr. Harper also indicated that it remains unclear whether the man shot dead on Parliament Hill Wednesday acted alone.
"Together we will remain vigilant against those at home or abroad who wish to harm us."
The Prime Minister concluded by stating that there will be no safe haven for terrorists and expressed confidence that Canadians will pull together in the wake of this week’s events.
Federal sources have identified the suspected shooter as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a man in his early 30s who was known to Canadian authorities.
Sources told The Globe and Mail he was recently unable to secure travel documentation he was seeking, thus blocking his attempt to travel abroad. The circumstances are similar to that surrounding the case of Martin Rouleau-Couture, the Quebecker who was shot Monday after running down two Canadian Forces soldiers with his car.
Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was born in 1982 and was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.
Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau has a record in Quebec in the early 2000s for petty crimes such as possession of drugs, credit-card forgery and robbery. He was also charged with robbery in 2011 in Vancouver.
(Follow The Globe's Ottawa staff on Twitter for updates on the Parliament Hill shootings)
- Soldier shot at the National War Memorial has died
- One suspect confirmed dead
- Harper cites terrorist motive behind attack on Ottawa
- Suspect was designated a “high-risk traveller”
- Ottawa area Armed Forces personnel instructed to only wear uniforms on duty
- Downtown Ottawa lockdown lifted, federal government buildings remain off limits
The soldier who was killed was identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, according to his aunt. Cpl. Cirillo, who was a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, a regiment of Reserve Forces based in Hamilton, was training to join the Canada Border Services Agency, his aunt told The Globe and Mail.
“We’re still in the process of an active operation right now. We’re treating this very seriously with the RCMP in identifying and clearing Parliament Hill to render it safe,” Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau told a mid-afternoon media briefing.
Shortly after 8:30 p.m. (ET) Ottawa police lifted the lockdown in the city's downtown core saying that the threat to public safety no longer remained.
However, the police operation on Parliament Hill is still ongoing and remains off limits to the public.
Asked if the attack had caught police off guard, Gilles Michaud, commanding officer of the RCMP’s national division, said: “I think that from our reaction, it caught us by surprise.”
Still, he said “all available and necessary resources were activated and deployed immediately” and will remain in place as long as necessary.
Canadian Armed Forces personnel, at least in the Ottawa area, are being instructed not to wear their uniform in public unless on duty, a source said.
A Forces directive to this effect will go out shortly, the source said.
THE SHOOTING: FEDERAL BUILDINGS PUT INTO LOCKDOWN
Gunfire erupted at the National War Memorial around 9:52 a.m. (ET), then moved to Parliament Hill’s Centre Block. The Parliament Hill shooting was captured on this video by a Globe reporter. One Parliament Hill guard was shot in the leg, treated in hospital and was later released.
The outbreak of violence sent MPs into hiding and all federal government buildings into lockdown, which wasn't lifted until late on Wednesday evening.
Mr. Harper was with Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino in a caucus meeting when the gunfire began, Mr. Fantino told the Toronto Sun Wednesday. Fantino credits a sergeant-at-arms for taking down a gunman. "All the details are not in but the sergeant-at-arms, a former Mountie, is the one that engaged the gunman, or one of them at least, and stopped this," Fantino said.Report Typo/Error
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