First a soldier guarding a hallowed war memorial was gunned down in Canada’s capital. Then shots erupted in the halls of the country’s Parliament minutes later. The two shootings in Ottawa Wednesday left lawmakers barricaded inside offices and parts of the city on lockdown for hours as police searched for suspects. Ottawa Police lifted the lockdown Wednesday night and said there was no longer a danger to the public. Investigators haven’t provided any possible motives for the shooting. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper didn’t provide details about the investigation in a televised address to the nation Wednesday night. It is unclear whether additional suspects were tied to the shootings or whether additional arrests have been made. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said more information would be provided in a press conference Thursday. An air of panic was fuelled by initial, confused suggestions that more than one gunman was at large. But reports of a shooting at a shopping mall turned out to be unfounded.
Canadian parliament applauded the sergeant-and-arms who fatally shot Michael Zehaf-Bibeau who ran through Parliament unleashing a barrage of bullets in the halls of federal government. Canada’s Prime Minister told his fellow Canadians we will not back down.
We will be vigilant, but we will not become intimidated. We will be prudent, but not panic,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper told members of Parliament to repeated applause. “As for the business of government, we are here in our seats, in our chamber, in the very heart of our democracy, and we are working.”
Canadian authorities confirmed Thursday that Bibeau was the only one involved in Wednesday’s horrific attack that left one soldier dead. Harper confirmed that new laws were coming into place to increase the police’s ability in detention and surveillance.The Globe and Mail reported Bibeau was designated a “high-risk traveler” by the Canadian government. It said Zehaf-Bibeau had a criminal record for drug possession, credit-card forgery and robbery. The attack came just a day after Canada raised its “threat” level citing chatter from ISIS sources calling for attacks against Canada in retaliation for joining coalition forces performing airstrikes in the Middle East.
Ottawa police Constable Marc Soucy confirmed to the Associated Press Thursday that police are satisfied there was one attacker. Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that “there is no longer a threat to public safety.” In Washington, President Obama condemned the shootings as “outrageous” and said: “We have to remain vigilant.” The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa was locked down as a precaution, and security was tightened at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington.