Edmonton City Hall shooting investigation results in terrorism charges

Click to play video: 'Terrorism charges laid in Edmonton City Hall shooting'
Terrorism charges laid in Edmonton City Hall shooting
WATCH: Terrorism charges have been laid against a man accused of opening fire inside Edmonton city hall. Breanna Karstens-Smith reports. – Mar 4, 2024

A 28-year-old man who had already been facing charges in connection with a shooting at Edmonton City Hall in January now also faces a pair of terrorism-related charges.

On Monday, the RCMP said Bezhani Sarvar has been charged with counselling commission of terrorism offence and possession of property for terrorist purposes.

“These charges are in conjunction with the following charges which also constitute terrorism offences pursuant to sections 2, 83.01(1)(b) and 83.27 of the Criminal Code of Canada:

· Intentionally or recklessly cause damage by fire or explosion to property, knowing the property was inhabited contrary to section 433(a) of the Criminal Code;

· Intentionally possess incendiary material while committing an indictable offence contrary to section 436.1 of the Criminal Code;

· Use of a firearm while committing an indictable offence contrary to section 85(1)(a) of the Criminal Code;

Story continues below advertisement

· Intentional discharge of a firearm while being reckless as to the life and safety of another person contrary to section 244.2(1)(b) of the Criminal Code;

· Possession of a prohibited device contrary to section 92(2) of the Criminal Code (x2);

· Mischief contrary to section 430(1)(a) of the Criminal Code;

· Carrying a concealed weapon contrary to section 90(1) of the Criminal Code; and,

· Possession of weapon for the purpose of committing an offence contrary to section 88(1) of the Criminal Code.”

Sarvar remains in custody at the Calgary Remand Centre and his next scheduled court appearance is Tuesday.

Nobody was physically injured in the violence that unfolded at city hall on Jan. 23.

Edmonton Police were investigating a shooting Tuesday at City Hall, where a Molotov cocktail was also thrown from the building’s second floor. A police officer is seen at City Hall during an investigation, in Edmonton, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Several city councillors, staff, members of the media and elementary students were inside city hall when shots rang out that day.

Story continues below advertisement

Police have said the incident began just before 10:20 a.m. when a man came into city hall through the parkade and walked through the building with a gun. They said he fired shots, mostly on the second floor, and threw an incendiary device.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

The man was arrested quickly and police believe he acted alone.

Sarvar had worked as a security guard prior to his arrest.

The day after the shooting, the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires confirmed he had been an employee since 2019 and was “assigned to a variety of locations within the Edmonton area but was never assigned to the security detail at city hall.”

Security video of a man inside city hall who fired shot showed he was wearing a Commissionaires security jacket, a vest and a security shirt.

In a video posted to social media, which appeared to have been posted the morning of the shooting and which has since been deleted from YouTube, Sarvar was seen sitting in a vehicle and talking about completing a mission. In the video, he listed a wide range of concerns about the cost of living, the housing crisis, immigration and other issues.

In the video, the accused also speaks about “genocide in Gaza” and speaks out against “anyone that is destabilizing other countries.”

Story continues below advertisement

Global News has confirmed Sarvar lived in Edmonton with his wife and their children.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton City Hall shooter: Blair reacts to suspect’s terrorism charges'
Edmonton City Hall shooter: Blair reacts to suspect’s terrorism charges

Speaking at an unrelated news conference in the Edmonton area on Monday, federal Defence Minister Bill Blair said it would be inappropriate for him to speak specifically about the case but said it is “very concerning. ”

“The charge is a serious matter with a high evidence threshold,” he said, adding that he has not seen the evidence related to the case.

Edmonton City Hall remains closed to the public as city officials make decisions on how to implement security changes at the building, though staff have been allowed to return to work and the media is allowed inside.

On Monday, Mayor Amarjeet Sohi spoke to Global News about the shooting after learning of the terrorism-related charges. He described what happened as “a very dramatic event.”

Story continues below advertisement

“(I am) very appreciative of how security guards, Edmonton Police Service, (Edmonton) Fire Rescue (Services) — everyone came together and reacted so promptly to avoid a disaster,” he said.

“We want to make sure that such events are avoided in the future and we are looking at some security features that will be as non-intrusive as possible.”

Sohi added that he is glad that people who were at the building on the day of the shooting have been able to access mental health supports.

–with files from Karen Bartko, Global News

Defence Minister Bill Blair speaks at a news conference in the Edmonton area on March 4, 2024. Global News

Sponsored content