‘Distorted world view,’ not mental illness, drove terrorists: RCMP
WATCH: RCMP say 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau recorded a video shortly before he carried out the deadly attack in Ottawa last week. As Vassy Kapelos reports, the video leaves little doubt about his motivations.
OTTAWA – RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson says it was a “distorted world view,” not solely mental illness, that drove two men to kill Canadian soldiers in separate incidents last week.
“I understand mental illness and I understand the ravages it can have on families and people. But certainly when it comes to some of the purposeful, deliberate, considered, premeditated actions that flow into some of the things we’ve seen recently, I’m not persuaded at all that mental illness is what’s driving these things,” Paulson told a Senate committee Monday.
“What’s driving these things is sort of a distorted world view of what’s happening around these individuals, perhaps coming to fruition on the back of somebody who has some mental challenges. But they are entirely distinguishable in my estimation.”
Last Monday, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed when Martin Couture-Rouleau hit him and another solider with his car in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Couture-Rouleau was then shot and killed by police.
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, died Wednesday after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot him twice from behind at Ottawa’s National War Memorial. He then stormed Centre Block and was killed by security, including Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, minutes later.
Paulson specifically referenced a video shot by Zehaf-Bibeau before he went on his shooting spree.
WATCH ABOVE: RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson says it is extremely hard for authorities to identify extremists about to carry out an act of terrorism.
The commissioner confirmed that Zehaf-Bibeau referenced Canada’s foreign policy, as well as his Muslim faith, in the video – including a remark about Allah.
The information comes after Zehaf-Bibeau’s mother, Susan Bibeau, told Postmedia News last weekend her estranged son’s rampage wasn’t driven by ideology or political motive, but rather the “last desperate act” of someone who was not well in his mind and felt trapped.
But Paulson suggested Zehaf-Bibeau was prepared.
“He was quite deliberate, he was quite lucid, and he was quite purposeful in articulating the basis for his actions. And they were in respect, broadly, to Canada’s foreign policy, and also in respect of his religious beliefs,” Paulson told reporters after committee.
“It’s a video that the deceased prepared himself, on his own device, that we were able to recover. And our belief is that it has not gone anywhere else, but it may have gone elsewhere.”
Paulson said the RCMP is looking into whether Zehaf-Bibeau told anyone else of his plans.
“We want to be able to satisfy ourselves, whether or not there are individuals who are contributing to this person’s radicalization, and his jihadist views,” Paulson said.
He told committee the RCMP wants to release the video as soon as possible. But only after it has been analysed for evidence and intelligence.
“We’re interested in getting that before the public, but we’re interested in making sure that we have secured and are confident in its intelligence and evidence value,” he said. “So I don’t know when it’s going to be released.”
But on Sunday, the RCMP said in a statement there is “persuasive evidence” that Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack was driven by ideological and political motives.
Police said they are still looking into the “origin” of the Winchester 30-30 lever-action rifle used in the attack.
WATCH ABOVE: The RCMP says Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was driven by ideological and political motives and that he had prepared a video recording of himself before the attack. Mike le Couteur reports.
Zehaf-Bibeau lived at his aunt’s house in Mont Tremblant years ago, and had hid a knife there, RCMP said. Police suspect he could have also hidden the gun – which they called “old and uncommon” — on the property.
As for how a man who stayed at an Ottawa homeless shelter a few weeks ago got money to buy a used car and carry out the attack, the RCMP said Zehaf-Bibeau had been employed in the Alberta oil fields and had saved his money.
“He had access to a considerable amount of funds,” Paulson said in a statement.
Paulson said the RCMP is investigating Zehaf-Bibeau’s interactions with “numerous individuals” in the days leading up to the attack.
“The investigation is focusing on whether these interactions could have contributed or facilitated, in any way, the terrorist attack subsequently committed by Zehaf-Bibeau.”
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