The RCMP said terror suspect Aaron Driver entered a taxi and detonated a device injuring himself and the driver before he was killed during a confrontation with police in Strathroy, Ont.
At a press conference Thursday, the RCMP revealed more details surrounding the death of 24-year-old Driver, a terrorism suspect and supporter of the so-called Islamic State, who was killed Wednesday evening.
Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Strachan described how RCMP and other police agencies descended onto a home where Driver lived that belonged to his sister.
“The cab driver suffered minor injuries and the suspect died during his engagement with police.”
Pictures shown during a news conference in Ottawa showed a cab with a blackened interior and broken windows.
Strachan said the RCMP investigation has led to a second location in London “related to Mr. Driver’s acitivities.”
Strachan said it was unclear if Driver died as a result of police gunfire or from shrapnel from the detonated explosive and that an autopsy would be performed.
RCMP deputy commissioner Mike Cabana said an FBI tip early Wednesday alerted them to the “imminent threat” posed by Driver who was planning an attack within 72 hours at an urban centre during morning or possibly afternoon rush hour.
“Very early in the morning the RCMP received credible information from the FBI including a martyrdom video that had been prepared by an unknown individual that was clearly in the final stages of planning an attack using an homemade explosive device,” Cabana said.
The owner of Leo’s Taxi company confirmed to Global News that his driver was injured and still in hospital and that the suspect had asked to be taken to Citi Plaza, a mall in downtown London, roughly 40 minutes away. The owner said Driver was a regular customer, often taking him to his job at Meridian Lightweight Technologies Inc., a company that manufactures automotive parts.
The RCMP also released a “martyrdom video” at the news conference where masked man identified as Driver rails against Western “enemies of Islam.”
“O Canada, you have received many warnings. You have been told many times what will become of those who fight against the Islamic State.”
“You saw bodies of the filthy French lying in the streets,” he continued. “You still have Muslim blood on your hand for this we thirst for your blood.”
Driver had been on the radar of intelligence officials for using social media to publicly support ISIS. He said the 2014 attack on Parliament Hill carried out by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was justified and encouraged ISIS to target the Canadian military and law enforcement officials.
As Mike Drolet reports, they knew the troubled young man and tried to offer him support, instead of exclusion.
He was arrested in June of last year in Winnipeg under suspicion he could have carried out a terrorist act, or helped a terror group. In February, he agreed to a number of peace-bond conditions that included living with his sister in Strathroy, Ont., as well as not possessing firearms or explosives, not possessing cellphones or computers, and not using social media..
Driver’s former lawyer, Leonard Tailleur, said he was “shocked” to hear his former client was allegedly planning to carry out a suicide bombing on a major Canadian city.
“There was no indication of violence whatsoever,” Tailleur said. “He was a very passive individual. I can say he was probably one of the best clients I ever had.”
*With files from Global News and the Canadian Press