OTTAWA: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, killer of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, was not on RCMP watchlist
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OTTAWA – The man who shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial in Ottawa before being gunned down in Parliament’s Centre Block was not one of the 90 radicalized Canadians on an RCMP watchlist, Mounties revealed Thursday.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, “was an individual who may have had extremist beliefs.”
His e-mail was found on a hard drive belonging to someone who’s been arrested for terror-related activities.
Born in Montreal, he later lived in Calgary and Vancouver, then went to Ottawa on Oct. 2 to deal with an issue regarding his passport application, Paulson said. Police believe he was hoping to travel to Syria from Ottawa.
When the RCMP were asked to review his passport application, they found no evidence he posed a threat to national security, Paulson said. The passport request was still in limbo.
The National War Memorial remained cordoned off Thursday, and Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordelau said the city can expect to see an increased police presence in the coming days.
“We ask that the entire community continue to be vigilant as well as report any suspicious incidents by calling the police,” he said.
In an emotional address to Parliament on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said MPs are united in ensuring democracy continues, despite terror threats, and even hugged his two main political rivals after addressing the House of Commons Thursday morning.
“I know we will always stand together,” Harper said in addressing a packed Parliament a day after the attack.
“The objective of these attacks was to instil fear and panic in our country,” Harper said. “Here we are, in our seats, in our chamber, in the very heart of our democracy.
Harper said authorities need greater power to track, arrest and detain terror suspects and “the work that is already underway will be expedited.”
Harper shook the hand of sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers — who is credited with shooting the gunman and saving the lives of MPs and staffers — and then hugged Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.
Mulcair also addressed the House, calling the shooter “crazy,” someone “who tried to silence us.”
At around 9:52 a.m. Wednesday, Zehaf-Bibeau shot Cirillo, 24, with a Winchester .30-30 — a hunting rifle — as he stood sentry at the National War Memorial.
The Canadian Forces reservist from Hamilton, Ont., died in hospital.
Security video released by RCMP shows the shooter driving up to Parliament, and running to another car, which he hijacked and drove to the entrance to Centre Block, where Conservative and NDP MPs had just begun their respective weekly caucus meetings.
Const. Samearn Son, a member of the Commons Security Services team, was shot in the leg during the takedown, but is stable and expected to make a full recovery.
It was the second attack on Canadian Armed Forces on home soil in three days. On Monday, extremist Martin Couture-Rouleau, 25, ran down and killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, 53, and injured another soldier in a parking lot in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que. Police shot Couture-Rouleau following a car chase.
RCMP said the two attacks were unrelated.