Ottawa Shooting Gunman Identified As Michael Zehaf-Bibeau
Officials identified the Ottawa shooting gunman as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a 32-year-old Canadian man who has a lengthy criminal record. Zehaf-Bibeau allegedly shot and killed a soldier at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa before entering the Canadian Parliament building and exchanging gunfire with police officers. He was fatally shot by police, but authorities say another gunman may still be on the loose.
CBC News reports that Zehaf-Bibeau's criminal record stems back at least a decade. His record reportedly includes drug-related charges in Quebec, as well as a conviction in British Columbia in 2012 for making threats.
It appears that Zehaf-Bibeau may have already been a threat to Canadian and U.S. security before he opened fire at several locations in downtown Ottawa's Parliament Hill Wednesday morning. An unnamed U.S. law enforcement official told CNN that the gunman had his passport confiscated by the Canadian government because he had plans to fight overseas. Sources have also told The Globe and Mail that Zehaf-Bibeau was designated a "high-risk traveler" by the Canadian government. However, it's still unclear when that happened.
Reuters reports that Zehaf-Bibeau was an Islam convert, and some U.S. government officials believe he may have changed his name from Michael Joseph Hall. Despite reports that he may have been a threat to national security, The New York Times reports that Zehaf-Bibeau's name did not show up in any FBI databases.
Toronto Star reporter Michelle Shephard tweeted a photo allegedly showing Zehaf-Bibeau holding a rifle. She reports that the photo was posted on a now-suspended ISIS Twitter account.
The Ottawa Police Service released a statement Wednesday evening lifting the safety perimeter on downtown Ottawa. A large swath of downtown was on lock down for most of Wednesday as police continued their investigation. Although the safety perimeter has been lifted, authorities advised Ottawa residents:
It is important that the downtown area remain as free as possible of traffic and pedestrians during this ongoing police operation. There is an enhanced and visible police presence in the downtown area.
Ottawa police also confirmed Wednesday night that two other persons suffered non-life threatening injuries in the shootings.
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