SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- Police sources say they have seized the belongings of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the gunman who rampaged on Parliament Hill Wednesday, while residents of a downtown shelter that had welcomed him say he told them to pray because the “world is ending.”
RCMP are holding a press conference in Ottawa at 3:30 p.m. ET. CBCnews.ca is carrying the event live.
CBC News was told by sources that the belongings were seized late Wednesday at the Ottawa Mission, a homeless shelter a few blocks east of Parliament Hill, which was locked down after the shooting that left a soldier dead and three others with minor injuries. A resident said RCMP also spent a long time in the shelter’s computer room.
Zehaf-Bibeau was seen at the mission over the last two weeks, always wearing a scarf, residents said. Two days ago, he asked for help to buy a car after his own had broken down.
Like much of the downtown core, the mission went into lockdown Wednesday. Executive Director Peter Tiley would not comment on Zehaf-Bibeau today, but confirmed that RCMP had shown up.
“I’ve seen him around the mission here,” shelter resident John Clothier said in an interview. “I’ve seen him for about two days. He was staying here, everybody was saying, for about two weeks to a month.”
“I overheard him trying to buy a car … a small car, because his car had a misfire, he said. He wanted to buy a car, desperately, and he was trying to get help from everybody in here to get a car.”
“People were trying to help him, but we didn’t understand what he was up to,” Clothier said. “He acted bizarre, he did. Very bizarre.”
Meanwhile, the parents of the gunman issued a statement Thursday saying their son “was lost and did not fit in.”
Susan Bibeau and Bulgasem Zehaf said they were “mad” at their son and part of them wanted to “hate him.”
The mother said she had met her son for lunch last week after five years apart, but had little insight into his mental state.
The two also expressed sorrow for the dead victim, an honour guard soldier, saying they were crying for the bereaved family.
Text of a statement provided to The Associated Press by the parents of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the gunman shot dead on Parliament Hill:
Hi, I am writing this note on behalf of my husband and myself. No words can express the sadness we are feeling at this time. We are so sad that a man lost his life. He has lost everything and he leaves behind a family that must feel nothing but pain and sorrow. We send our deepest condolences to them although words seem pretty useless. We are both crying for them. We also wish to apologize for all the pain, fright and chaos he created. We have no explanation to offer. I am mad at our son, I don’t understand and part of me wants to hate him at this time. You write that our son was vulnerable, we don’t know, we [he] was lost and did not fit in. I his mother spoke with him last week over lunch, I had not seen him for over five years before that. So I have very little insight to offer. We don’t wish to be part of any media circus, we don’t think it will add anything to the conversation. Please respect our privacy although many may not feel we deserve any.… Once again we are so sorry.
— Susan Bibeau and Bulgasem Zehaf
Earlier, Susan Bibeau told The Associated Press: “Can you ever explain something like this?”
Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau said investigators have ruled out a second gunman in the attack on Parliament Hill, as the precinct remains under tight security, with police cordons blocking traffic and snipers visible atop downtown buildings.
“We’re satisfied at this point one individual was responsible for the shooting yesterday on the Hill,” Bordeleau told CBC News, following almost 24 hours of uncertainty as armed officers took control of the city core.
Zehaf-Bibeau’s rampage with a hunting rifle in the Canadian capital was stopped when Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms, Kevin Vickers, and RCMP fatally shot him in the marbled central hallway of the Centre Block, within metres of a room where the prime minister was meeting with members of Parliament.
“I am very touched by the attention directed at me following yesterday’s events,” Vickers said in a statement today.
“However, I have the support of a remarkable security team that is committed to ensuring the safety of Members, employees and visitors to the Hill.”
Ottawa Civic Hospital confirmed Wednesday that four people were taken to hospital: the soldier who died, and three who were released after treatment for minor injuries.
Security watches from a rooftop as Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen, lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial on Thursday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
Earlier this week, in a separate incident, a soldier was killed in Quebec when he was run over in a parking lot.
Martin Couture-Rouleau struck two members of the military with his car in the St-Jean-sur-Richelieu lot, in what CSIS has described as “the violent expression of an extremist ideology.”
Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent died after the attack. Couture-Rouleau was shot and killed by police following a high-speed chase as he fled the scene.