Canadian police confirm only one gunman in Ottawa rampage


Ottawa Police have confirmed only one shooter acted during a Wednesday morning attack on Parliament Hill.

Michael (Joseph) Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, was confirmed late Wednesday as the shooter that killed Canadian Army Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial and then stormed Parliament only to be gunned down by capitol security.

Witnesses claimed there were multiple shooters, and authorities were reluctant to say whether they believed Zehaf-Bibeau acted alone or had accomplices.

Zehaf-Bibeau is a Canadian citizen who has lived in both Montreal and Vancouver, according to Canadian media. He was arrested in 2004 in Montreal on a drug charge, according to the Ottawa Sun, but was not under surveillance for possible terrorist activities.

Born Michael Joseph Bibeau, Zehaf-Bibeau reportedly changed his name after a recent conversion to Islam. He was shot dead by Parliament sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers -- only feet from caucusing politicians.

His picture was first circulated online via an ISIS-linked Twitter account, but Canadian officials previously hesitated to speak to his possible motives until Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the assault a "terrorist attack" during a Wednesday evening address to the nation.

They were also surprisingly candid about how unexpected the shooting rampage was.

"I think that, from our reaction, [the attack] caught us by surprise," RCMP Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud said during a Wednesday afternoon press briefing.

U.S. officials had earlier placed Zehaf-Bibeau on a list of at-risk travelers, sources have since told Reuters.

The shooter's mother, Susan Bibeau, told the Associated Press that she shed tears for her son's victims, not for him.

"Can you ever explain something like this?" she said. "We are sorry."

Zehaf-Bibeau's attack began when he jumped out of a sedan and began shooting at Cirillo, an Army Reserve soldier, while he stood guard over the tomb of the unknown soldier.

About four shots came in rapid succession before he ran across the street, rifle in hand, and towards the Parliament, according to eyewitness accounts.

The bearded, scarf-wearing gunman than sprinted into Parliament and opened fire on more people, injuring four. They were released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon and are expected to make a full recovery.

Dramatic video from the Toronto Globe and Mail shows the moment Zehaf-Bibeau was engaged by several law enforcement officers inside Parliament's inner chambers.

Dozens of gun shots echoed off the grand building's cavernous marble halls as the intruder was neutralized. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cirillo died at a local hospital.

Reports of shootings at other locations kept the Canadian capitol on edge well into the evening.

Ottawa Police confirmed a shooting at the Rideau Centre Mall, but a shopping center spokesperson immediately refuted that claim to AOL News.

Authorities later retracted that confirmation.

Parts of the downtown area still remain on lockdown, but only so investigators can try to piece together the senseless acts of violence that took an innocent soldier's life.

Zehaf-Bibeau's one-man army assault happened only one day after a hit-and-run, also in Quebec, that killed a soldier. Harper also called that incident a terrorist attack.

Both incidents occurred within days of Canada sending fighter jets to Iraq to take part in bombing missions against the ISIS terrorists.

"Let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated," Harper told his horrified country Wednesday night.

"This will lead us to... redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores," he continued.

"They will have no safe haven."

Soldier Shot Dead in Ottawa
Soldier Shot Dead in Ottawa

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