Ottawa gunman not on RCMP list of 90 high-risk people
WATCH: The police said it was only one man, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who carried out Wednesday’s attack in Ottawa. Though he had become radicalized, he wasn’t considered a threat. Vassy Kapelos explains.
OTTAWA – The commissioner of the RCMP says Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the man killed Wednesday after a shooting at the National War Memorial and on Parliament Hill, was not on the RCMP’s watch list of potential high-risk travellers.
Bob Paulson also says there’s no evidence of a link between Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau, who ran down two Canadian soldiers in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., on Monday.
Paulson told a news conference Thursday that Zehaf Bibeau was met with gunfire from Commons security as he ran into the Centre Block on Parliament Hill, brandishing a 30-30, lever-action Winchester rifle.
Video shown at the news conference indicates there were Mounties close on the gunman’s heels as he rushed up the stairs and into the building.
WATCH: Security camera footage of Parliament Hill shooter from multiple angles
The dramatic video shows the suspect abandoning a car on Wellington Street, in front of the Hill.
The man is seen running up the drive, hijacking a cabinet minister’s car and driving it a few dozen metres to the front door of Parliament.
The Mounties will now guard the prime minister around the clock, Paulson also said.
WATCH: RCMP announce they will now guard Prime Minister 24/7
Earlier Thursday Global News confirmed Zehaf-Bibeau was staying at The Ottawa Mission.
According to residents at the shelter, the suspect was staying there for at least 10 days.
Norman LeBlanc, a 60-year-old former truck driver who frequents the downtown shelter says Zehaf-Bibeau so angered some of the men at the facility that there was almost a fight in recent days.
LeBlanc says Zehaf Bibeau ranted at length about how much he hated Canada, and was furious about having failed to get a passport in order to leave.
He says the griping almost prompted some of other men at the mission to take Zehaf Bibeau outside and beat him up.
Other residents described Zehaf-Bibeau as a “handsome man” who prayed and washed his feet three times a day.
“He was a quiet person, saying his prayers every day,” shelter resident Roger Duval said. “He was normal, like us.”
One mission resident said Zehaf-Bibeau was at the shelter for two weeks but no one saw him Wednesday morning.
“I didn’t see him after Tuesday,” David Duchesne said. “We saw him on the phone talking to Hertz rental car trying to rent something with a credit card, paying over the phone.”
In a phone interview with The Associated Press, Zehaf-Bibeau’s mother said she hadn’t seen her son in five years.
Susan Bibeau told the news agency she was mad at her son and that he seemed lost “and did not fit in.”
“If I’m crying it’s for the people, not for my son,” she said.
The details come after federal politicians gathered at the National War Memorial Thursday morning prior to the resumption of Parliament to pay their respects to fallen Canadian soldier Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was gunned down at the base of the monument on Wednesday.
Parliament buildings remain under tight security as police officials continue to search for evidence in the deadly shooting that Prime Minister Stephen Harper called a “terrorist attack.”
Zehaf-Bibeau was killed just feet from where hundreds of MPs were meeting for their weekly caucus meetings.
MPs lowered the Canadian flag on the Peace Tower to half-mast early Thursday morning before politicians continued with proceedings on the Hill.
Around 9 a.m., as the prime minster arrived at the National War Memorial, police withdrew their weapons on a man near the memorial.
— Laura Stone (@l_stone) October 23, 2014
The man was arrested for “disturbing the crime scene at the Cenotaph,” as MPs gathered to pay their respects at the memorial.
— Laura Stone (@l_stone) October 23, 2014
Meanwhile, the Parliament buildings remain off limits to the public.
In an address to the nation Wednesday night, Harper said, “Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks” and “Canada will never be intimidated.”
The attack on Parliament Hill and National War Memorial began just before 10 a.m., which prompted the lockdown of much of Ottawa’s downtown core that lasted well into the evening.
Police lifted the lockdown after the force established there was no longer “a threat to public safety.”
Police departments were opened to public just after 11 a.m. Thursday after being shut for most of the day.
On Thursday, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson praised first responders and said there’s a “sense of angst in the community” a day after a soldier was killed on “the most sacred ground in the city, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”
“We are reassuring our citizens that our police and all of our first responders have done a commendable job under very difficult circumstance,” Watson said.
The mayor said several streets in the downtown core remained closed and transit was being rerouted as police and RCMP continued the shooting investigation.
Queen Elizabeth issued a statement Thursday saying she was “shocked and saddened by the events in Ottawa yesterday.”
In Hamilton, Ont. people gathered at the John W. Foote VC Armoury to pay their respects to Cpl. Cirillo.
Mourners draped Canadian flags over the gates of the building while others laid flowers and lit candles.
Back in Ottawa at the House of Commons, politicians gave a loud, standing applause for Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, the man who fatally shot the alleged Parliament shooter.
Sitting of the House began with a moment of silence for the fallen soldier before singing the national anthem.
In a statement, Sergeant-at-Arms extended his condolences to the family of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. He also extended his wishes to Constable Samearn Son, who suffered a gunshot wound to the leg.
Son is expected to make a full recovery.
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