THE Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are requesting public assistance with respect to their investigation surrounding the events leading up to the terrorist attack in Ottawa, on the morning of October 22 (Wednesday).
The RCMP is specifically seeking any information related to the activities or movements of Bibeau for the period of October 2 to and including the October 22. If you have any information which may assist this investigation, you are encouraged to call the RCMP tip line at NATIONAL SECURITY TIP LINE 1-800-420-5805 or RCMP.NSIN-RISN.GRC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
MICHAEL Joseph Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, the alleged killer of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, an Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada reservist based in Hamilton, Ontario, was well-known to police.
The Toronto Star reported that his Quebec criminal record includes 11 charges. In November-December 2001, he received an absolute discharge for credit card fraud in Montreal and fines for drunk driving in Mont-Tremblant and assault in Laval.
The Star said that in March 2003, he was sentenced to three months in prison for theft and another six months for possession of a dangerous weapon. In 2004, he received another brief jail term to escaping custody twice and possession of marijuana and PCP. In mid 2005 and again in 2006, he was charged with marijuana possession in Montreal, for which he received first a small fine and, on the second occasion, another absolute discharge.
In Vancouver, he was charged was charged with robbery and uttering threats and was found guilty of the lesser charge of uttering threats. He was sentenced to one day in jail, with credit for 66 days already served, according to court documents, CBC reported.
Court documents show that during his bailing hearing in 2011, Zehaf-Bibeau told the court he committed another robbery just so he could go to jail and said: “I’m a crack addict and at the same time I’m a religious person. I want to sacrifice freedom and good things for a year maybe, so when I come out, I can appreciate things in life more and be clean.”
CBC reported that Aasim Rashid, a spokesman for the B.C. Muslim Association, said a few people at the Masjid al-Salaam and Education Centre in Burnaby dealt with Zehaf-Bibeau before his arrest in 2011.
Rashid told CBC he wasn’t well-behaved and added: “At one point, he raised an objection at the Burnaby mosque that he was sort of floating in and out of for a period of three to four months. He didn’t like the fact that the mosque was so open and welcoming.”
Mosque administrators had to let him know that the facility was open to other groups in order to work together on common issues and that if he had a problem with that he should go somewhere else.
Vancouver Police Department and the BC RCMP are working together to assist the Ottawa City Police and RCMP National Security in the investigation.
ZEHAF-BIBEAU allegedly shot Cirillo at Ottawa’s National War Memorial on Wednesday morning. He was first identified by U.S. officials who spoke to CBS.
Zehaf-Bibeau, who witnesses said had a hunting rifle, reportedly seized a car after shooting the soldier at the National War Memorial and drove to Parliament Hill. He
then got out of that vehicle and ran to the grounds of Parliament where he reportedly hijacked another vehicle and drove to the Central Block.
Inside Parliament building, he fired a large number of shots as security personnel pursued him.
Parliament’s Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers shot and killed Zehaf-Bibeau just outside the library at the foot of the Hall of Honour and the MPs’ caucus rooms where the MPs were having their weekly Wednesday caucus meetings.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other party leaders and MPs were all safe.
According to the Globe and Mail newspaper, Zehaf-Bibeau was “the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.” The couple divorced in 1999.
Last Monday (October 20), Martin Couture-Rouleau reportedly struck two members of the military in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, with his car. One of the injured, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, later died. Couture-Rouleau then led the police on a high speed chase. He was shot and killed.
Harper in a statement on Tuesday said: “I learned with shock and sadness yesterday that two Canadian Armed Forces members from Canadian Forces Base Saint-Jean Garrison were hit by a man who, according to our national security services, had become radicalized.”
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson on Thursday told the media that police have information that Zehaf-Bibeau may have had dual Libyan / Canadian citizenship. He was born in Montreal and had lived in Calgary and most recently in Vancouver.
Here is what the RCMP knew about Zehaf-Bibeau before the incidents:
“We were aware that he had applied recently for a passport as we were contacted to conduct background checks. The RCMP did not possess information at that time that would reveal any national security-related criminality.
“His criminal records indicated infractions related to drug, violence and other criminal activities.
“The RCMP also had uncorroborated information suggesting that he had associations with an individual who is known to us. I can confirm that Zehaf-Bibeau was not one of the 90 high risk travelers that the RCMP is currently investigating. According to some accounts, he was an individual who may have held extremist beliefs.
“We have learned through the current investigation that this individual has been in Ottawa since at least October 2, 2014, that he was in town to deal with a passport issue but that he was hoping to leave for Syria.
“We also learned yesterday that the beige vehicle used by the suspect was purchased on October 21, 2014.”
Paulson said: “The investigation is ongoing and will rapidly determine if Zehaf-Bibeau received any support in the planning of his attack.”
He added: “We have no information linking the two attacks this week, in St-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu and in Ottawa. Our investigation has not revealed any link between Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau, the individual who perpetrated the attack against members of our Canadian Forces in Quebec.”
Here’s a brief timeline of events presented by the RCMP:
Witnesses interviewed by Ottawa Police Services reported seeing the shooter, at around 9:50 (a.m.) coming from behind the War Memorial on the West side where he fires twice at reservist Nathan Cirillo.
The shooter is positioned on an angle behind the victim where they cannot see him coming (as they are facing south). The shooter fires one shot at the second guard, but he missed him. Witnesses heard the suspect yelling something in English and then running towards the north.
The investigation revealed that he used the beige vehicle and headed to Wellington.
The first calls received via 911 were around 09:52:36
From the National War Memorial the suspect drove North on Wellington Street and parked his vehicle at 9:52:23 in front of the Elgin entrance.
He accessed the grounds of Parliament Hill at 9:52:31 on foot and started running toward East Block where MP vehicles were parked.
At 9:53:16, video footage shows the suspect overtook one of these vehicles and drove toward Center Block.
At 9:53:37, he immobilized the vehicle on the left side of the Peace Tower and started running toward the main doors of Center Block. At that time, RCMP vehicles on site chased the suspect to the entrance of Center Block.
The suspect entered Center Block at 9:53:46, seconds before the RCMP officers that were chasing him were able to reach the doors.
It took approximately 1 minute and 23 seconds between the time the suspect parked the beige car and entered Center Block
Once inside Centre Block, the suspect engaged in a fire exchange with the House of Commons Security and RCMP officers. The exact details of this exchange are still under investigation.
HARPER addressed the country on Wednesday evening, noting: “Let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.
“In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats, and keep Canada safe here at home.
“Just as it will lead us to strengthen our resolve and 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.
“They will have no safe haven.
“While today has been, without question, a difficult day, I have every confidence that Canadians will pull together with the kind of firm solidarity that has seen our country through many challenges.
“Together, we will remain vigilant against those at home or abroad who wish to harm us.”
AFTER speaking with Harper by phone, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement:
“We don’t yet have all the information about what motivated the shooting. We don’t yet have all the information about whether this was part of a broader network or plan, or whether this was an individual or series of individuals who decided to take these actions. But it emphasizes the degree to which we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorism. And I pledged, as always, to make sure that our national security teams are coordinating very closely, given not only is Canada one of our closest allies in the world but they’re our neighbors and our friends, and obviously there’s a lot of interaction between Canadians and the United States, where we have such a long border.
“And it’s very important I think for us to recognize that when it comes to dealing with terrorist activity, that Canada and the United States has to be entirely in sync. We have in the past; I’m confident we will continue to do so in the future.”