Nathan Cirillo, a soldier standing guard at Parliament Hill in Ottawa was tragically shot and killed on the morning of Oct. 22. The shooter, who was killed by police, has been identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, according to USA Today.
The morning of Oct. 22 was a horrific day for the residents of Ottawa when Parliament Hill came under attack. Nathan Cirillo, 24, a soldier guarding at the Canada’s war memorial, was gunned down by lone gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32. After numerous reports that there were several gunmen, Canadian police confirmed that Michael was acting alone in the shooting before he was killed by police, USA Today reports.
Canadian Parliament Hill Ottawa Shooting — Gunman Identified
Two soldiers were standing guard at the Canada’s war memorial in Ottawa when Michael opened fire on one of them, a witness told CNN. Gunshots were also heard inside the halls of Parliament.
The fallen soldier was later identified as Nathan Cirillo, a 24-year-old Canadian army reservist.
“I heard this pop, pop, pop and thought it was dynamite for construction rather than something else,” John McKay, a member of Parliament, told CTV.
A “lone gunman is deceased” a member of the nation’s Parliament, Bob Zimmer, tweeted after shots were fired. Michael was a recent convert to Islam, a government official told Associated Press. He also had a drug problem before he converted, a source told CNN. “In the days to come we will learn about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had,” Prime Minster Stephen Harper said.
Michael’s passport was confiscated by Canadian authorities when they learned he planned to go fight overseas, a U.S. law enforcement official told CNN.
Ottawa police confirmed shots were fired at three locations: the war memorial, inside Centre Block and at the Rideau Centre shopping mall east of Parliament Hill. On Oct. 22, the Prime Minister’s Office reassured the public that Stephen Harper is safe and was not on Parliament Hill during the shooting. Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau were also safe from harm.
“This week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world,” Stephen said on Oct. 22. “Let there be no misunderstanding: We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.”
Reason For Shooting
The motive for the attack is still unclear, but it came days after Canada raised its domestic terrorism threat level. Canadian authorities feared knife and gun attacks.
Earlier this week, a man who Canadian authorities said was “radicalized” was shot to death after killing a Canadian soldier.
Our thoughts go out to Nathan’s family and friends and the entire country of Canada during this difficult time.
— Shira Benozilio