Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau acted separately
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
On the morning of October 22, Hamilton resident Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a lone gunman, approached the National War Memorial at Parliament Hill and killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo. Zehaf-Bibeau then entered the Centre Block, where he exchanged gunfire with RCMP and was eventually shot and killed by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers.
Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack occurred two days after Martin Couture-Rouleau drove his car into two soldiers in Quebec, killing Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. Like Zehaf-Bibeau, Couture-Rouleau’s actions ended in his death; Couture-Rouleau attempted to escape in his car, but was chased and was ultimately shot by police. Reports indicate Couture-Rouleau had been waiting in his car for two hours prior to his attack.
In the case of the Parliament Hill shooting though, Zehaf-Bibeau drove into the area during the day. On October 25, CBC revealed that the car had been purchased the day prior, and that he had taped junk mail to his window to feign a temporary license plate.
Zehaf-Bibeau walked up to Cirillo and another reservist from behind, shooting Cirillo but missing the second person. Within an hour of the attack being reported, the city of Ottawa began locking down businesses, schools, and Parliament itself. A photo taken inside a Parliament caucus room revealed those present were barricading the door with furniture.
Various reporters followed RCMP into the Centre Block as they went after Zehaf-Bibeau. One reporter from the Globe and Mail was present and filming what has since become widely-viewed footage of the scene. As officers approached Zehaf-Bibeau, the gunman fired, inciting a barrage that ultimately ended his life.
As panic spread throughout Ottawa, rumours of a second gunman circulated, although reports later proved to be false.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed the country later that day in a public statement, in which he said, “Let there be no misunderstanding—we will not be intimidated, Canada will never be intimidated.”
While reasons for Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack are being investigated, it has since been discovered that Couture-Rouleau was a supporter of ISIS. Couture-Rouleau had his passport seized in July when he attempted to fly to Turkey. He was arrested and temporarily detained before being let go; Couture-Rouleau was a suspected extremist who was being monitored by the RCMP.
In the days since, both Cirillo and Vickers have been hailed as heroes, with memorials and messages in honour of Cirillo and Vincent occurring online and in public.
While an attack such as Zehaf-Bibeau’s was the first of its kind on Parliament Hill, it is not the first time the area has been threatened. The most well-known incident regarding Parliament Hill prior to October 22nd’s attack was in 1966, when Paul Joseph Chartier accidentally killed himself while making a bomb in a Parliament bathroom.
As of October 24, Parliament Hill is once again open for public visitation.