A tactical vehicle leaves the security perimeter on Wellington Street, just a couple blocks away from Parliament Hill, on October 22, 2014 in Ottawa, Canada.(AFP Photo / Mike Carroccetto)
While the name of the Ottawa gunman is yet to be announced, a number of officials told numerous media that the shooter is believed to be Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a recent Muslim convert, allegedly designated as a high-risk traveler.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was born in Quebec as Michael Joseph Hall north of Montreal, two US officials told Reuters, claiming that American law enforcement agencies have been advised that the attacker recently converted to Islam.
AP sources also identified the man to be Zehaf-Bibeau. A Twitter account associated with Islamic State militants tweeted a photo they identified as the Ottawa shooter. The Globe and Mail reports that the shooter was designated a “high-risk traveler” by the Canadian authorities with his passport seized.
Montreal-based reporter Domenic Fazioli claims that Zehaf-Bibeau appears three times in Montreal’s court database. Allegedly the recent convert was arrested five times, three times for drug possession and twice for violating parole conditions. His name also appears in Vancouver’s court database on charges of robbery and making threats.
“I am not able to confirm that this is the same person responsible for the events in Ottawa,”Const. Brian Montague said. “Confirmation on suspect identity and information would have to come from the Ottawa Police Service or the RCMP… Due to the ongoing investigation, there is little information we can share at this time.”
Whether Zehaf-Bibeau was the only attacker that killed 24-year-old Nathan Cirillo and wounded at least 2 others is still unknown. Earlier Ottawa police spokesman Chuck Benoit said two or three gunmen were believed to be involved in the attacks, but at a press conference officials declined to comment on the possible number of shooters.
TIMELINE: Ottawa shooting
The news of the shooting broke at 9:52 am local time when the gunman killed a soldier at the National War Memorial before reportedly proceeding to the Parliament Hill’s Center Block where he was shot dead by a 58-year-old sergeant Kevin Vickers.
“I looked out the window and saw a shooter, a man dressed all in black with a kerchief over his nose and mouth and something over his head as well, holding a rifle and shooting an honor guard in front of the cenotaph point-blank, twice,” Zobl told the Canadian Press news agency. “The honor guard dropped to the ground, and the shooter kind of raised his arms in triumph holding the rifle.”
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