Michael Zehaf-Bibeau: Video of Canadian parliament attack released
Canadian police have released a video showing how gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau stormed into the parliament’s building on October 22.
Minutes before, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, had shot dead a soldier at Ottawa’s war memorial near parliament.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was ultimately shot dead by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers.
The gunman was not on a list of known high-risk travelers, but had links to extremist elements, police said. He had recently applied for a passport and intended to travel to Syria.
At a news conference on October 23, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Bob Paulson described Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as a Canadian-born petty criminal with possible dual citizenship in Libya, where his father was from.
Bob Paulson said Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was not among the 90 individuals known to Canadian security forces as a “high-risk traveler”, contrary to earlier reports.
Nor was he linked to the Muslim convert who on October 20 killed a Canadian soldier in Quebec in a hit-and-run attack.
“[Michael Zehaf-Bibeau] was an individual who may have held extremist beliefs,” said Bob Paulson, who suggested the passport application process may have driven him to violence.
“I think the passport figured prominently in his motives. I’m not inside his head, but I think it was central to what was driving him.”
Killed in the Wednesday morning attack was Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a 24-year-old reservist from Ontario who was standing as an unarmed honor guard, in ceremonial dress, at Canada’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Canadian capital’s Parliament Hill.
According to the RCMP investigation, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau arrived in Ottawa on October 2, intending to deal with an issue related to his application for a passport.
“He was waiting to get it, and there was an investigation going on to determine to see whether he would get a passport,” Bob Paulson said.
On October 21, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau purchased the beige car used in the attack. On October 22 at about 09:50, he approached the war memorial from behind, fired twice at Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who never saw him coming, then fired on the second guard. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was struck, but the shot missed the second guard.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau yelled something in English, then drove north on Wellington Street toward Parliament Hill. He stopped his car directly in front of the parliament complex’s East Block, and alighted from his vehicle brandishing a rifle as pedestrians fled.
Video shows Michael Zehaf-Bibeau hijacked a minister’s car, then sped off toward Centre Block, by now pursued by police.
At Centre Block, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau left the stolen car and ran into the building, exchanging gunfire with House of Commons security forces and RCMP officers.
He was ultimately shot dead by Sergeant-at-Arms Vickers, a former senior RCMP officer, who received a standing ovation in parliament on Thursday.
Only one minute and 23 seconds elapsed between the time Michael Zehaf-Bibeau parked his own car and when he entered Center Block.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s assault has shaken a nation already reeling from Monday’s attack in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, in which 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau smashed his car into two Canadian soldiers in a car park, killing one.
Martin Couture-Rouleau, who authorities say was “inspired” by Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Iraq and Syria, led police on a brief chase before he wrecked his car, exited the vehicle reportedly brandishing a knife, and was shot dead by the officers.
PM Stephen Harper has vowed to strengthen the nation’s anti-terrorism laws, and has said Canada will not be intimidated by such violence, nor swayed from its role fighting IS in Iraq alongside the US military.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau is now under 24-hour protection, authorities have said.
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