The gunman in Wednesday’s attack in Ottawa, Canada has been identified by US news agencies as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and a Canadian citizen. The information was based on US official sources. Bibeau’s identity was confirmed by Canadian authorities shortly after the US reports.
Bibeau is a 32-year-old Canadian citizen. He was identified by Canadian authorities working with the FBI.
Bibeau killed one Canadian soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, when he began his attack at the National War Memorial in Ottawa Wednesday. The soldier was standing guard at the memorial when Bibeau shot him with a double-barrel shotgun Bibeau pulled out of a large black jacket.
Bibeau then calmly entered his car, which was parked on the street at the War Memorial, and drove to the parliament building, where he parked at the east gate of Parliament. Bibeau ran into the building and a gunfight ensued.
Bibeau was shot at by Canadian soldiers and was killed, reportedly by Canadian Parliament Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers inside the Parliament Center Block building.
Bibeau was described variously by eye-witnesses as a young-looking Caucasian with black hair, wearing a dark clothing and as an “Arabian” looking man with “long hair and a small beard” who was wearing a scarf over his face and who “kind of raised his arms in triumph holding the rifle” after gunning down Cirillo.
Bibeau, who was born Michael Joseph Hall before changing his name, had a criminal record for drug offenses, robbery and uttering threats at various locations in Canada, including Vancouver, British Columbia and Montreal, Quebec.
Bibeau was a recent convert to Islam, according to two US officials. Bibeau’s passport was seized by Canadian authorities after Bibeau was designated a “high-risk traveller.”
Islamic State (IS) media accounts posted a photo they claimed was of Bibeau. CBC News and Canadian police confirmed that the photo was of Bibeau.
IS has not issued any claims of responsibility for the attack, however.
Reportedly, Canadian parliamentarians were warned earlier this week of a pressing threat.
After Wednesday’s attack, Canadian military personnel were advised to not wear their uniforms in public unless they were on active duty. Cirillo and the two men hit by the car of a “radicalized” Quebec man Tuesday were all military personnel.
Following the attack in Ottawa, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) increased its alert posture–increasing the number of planes on higher alert status.
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By James Haleavy