RCMP Commission Paulson says details of House shooting still unclear

Who shot the Ottawa gunman?

Vickers’ heroism is undoubted, but there were a ‘multitude of shots’

CBC video still

CBC video still

It is not clear that House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who has been widely hailed as a hero for his bravery in confronting the attacker who stormed the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings on Wednesday, fired the shot that killed Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

Nobody who has watched video of the assault, or heard first-hand accounts, can question Vickers’s courage and composure. He is seen both in the dramatic, unsteady video that shows several security officers confronting and finally shooting Zehaf-Bibeau, and again in the clearer footage taken afterwards, his pistol in hand, when the possibility of another intruder hadn’t yet been ruled out.

But the official police account offered today leaves wide open the possibility that one or more officers not yet named might have killed Zehaf-Bibeau. And a least one NDP MP who was in the Centre Block at the time, and for hours afterwards, said he got the impression that a young Mountie assigned to the Parliament Hill detail might have fired the fatal shot.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson was asked at a news conference earlier this afternoon to describe in detail what happened yesterday in the Centre Block’s Hall of Honour, and specifically whether it was indeed Vickers who finally shot Zehaf-Bibeau. Paulson’s answer was equivocal.

“That remains under investigation,” he said. “The best information that I have now is that as the suspect entered the doors there was an engagement with House of Commons and RCMP officers, some shooting occurred.

“The suspect transited from that engagement down the hall toward Parliament, at which point Mr. Vickers and others did engage with him. I understood that the suspect and Mr. Vickers were behind pillars and were exchanging fire; the suspect repositioned himself to get a better shot at Mr. Vickers when our [RCMP] officers engaged, and you may have heard the sort of multitude of shots.”

Paulson went on to praise Vickers and his team of House of Commons security officers as “heroes,” but also said his own officers and those of the Ottawa Police performed heroically.

Some MPs who were locked up on Parliament Hill yesterday after the shootings—during the long hours while police were making sure the slain attacker had left no accomplices hiding nearby—seem to have come away with the understanding that a young RCMP officer might have actually fired the shot that killed Zehaf-Bibeau.

NDP MP Paul Dewar said members of his party’s caucus were reassured shortly after the gunfire ended by a young officer who was impressively poised despite, having moments earlier, as NDP MPs were told, shot the gunman who had charged into the Hall of Honour outside their caucus room.

“He came in and told us what had happened, and he gave us a very calm briefing,” Dewar said. “He told us in very calm terms what had happened. He was reassuring us. He was a hero yesterday and I can’t thank him enough.” Dewar gave the name of a Mountie assigned to the Hill, but Maclean’s is holding off on identifying him since the RCMP has declined to comment on whether that individual was involved in the shootout.

Vickers has not made any claim about his own role. In fact, he has shared credit widely. “I am very touched by the attention directed at me following yesterday’s events,” he said in a written statement issued earlier today. “However, I have the support of a remarkable security team…”

He went on: “House of Commons Security Services also maintains a close working relationship with its security partners, including Senate Security, the RCMP and the Ottawa Police. This close collaboration made it possible to pull together and quickly restore order in the Parliamentary precinct and throughout the downtown core.”

A spokeswoman for the Speaker of the House of Commons, who also handles media requests for the Sergeant-at-Arms, said Vickers would not be answering any Maclean’s questions or responding to other media requests.


Who shot the Ottawa gunman?

  1. What happened to the other monument guard?

    Why are there combat soldiers able to be on Parliament hill within minutes?

    Why are there soldiers in full combat gear….and what look like running shoes….visible? The HOC has security, and Ottawa has police. Not to mention the RCMP.

    Why weren’t security officers/mounties/soldiers able to be in touch with the PM instantly to advise him of the situation RIGHT OUTSIDE HIS CAUCUS DOOR? Doesn’t the man have a mobile?

    In all the time it took the guy to go from the monument into the HOC to right outside a caucus door…..not a peep? What if someone had needed a bathroom break?

    Why are we treating some rubby-dub from a mission on a bender as though we just fended off an invasion from a foreign nation?

    How far do you want to go with this?

  2. While Kevin Vickers’ heroism is beyond question, I wish we’d recognize the equal heroism of the bystanders and the fellow soldier who rushed to the fatally wounded corporal’s aid immediately after he was downed, at considerable risk to their own safety. They had no way of knowing if the gunman would return, or if there were more than one.

    Also, the security officer who was shot and wounded just outside the Library of Parliament – seems his bravery and heroism was equal to that of Kevin Vickers. Hopefully in the coming days we’ll see proper recognition for him as well, instead of just “Holywoodizing” the whole situation and choosing to anoint one person as our superhero of the week. None of this is to take away from Kevin Vickers. Mr. Vickers, if it was indeed your bullet that downed the killer, well done sir.

  3. Emilyone, your comment is all over the place: this situation occurred within a very few minutes, across a wide area. As the gunman entered the West Block, the door guard grabbed at the rifle barrel and pushed it towards the ground – he was shot in the foot. A large number of security forces chased the gunman down the hall to the Library where the shootout started.
    I feel for the young Mountie who apparently was the first to engage the gunman: after years of checking ID’s and rattling doorknobs, his recognition is denied. The script making the aide-de-camp the hero instead is one borne from past experience: in prior situations where a young soldier or policeman was glorified beyond their experience they sometimes followed-up in short order with disgraceful public behavior.
    As for those “soldiers in full combat gear” with running shoes, they are the RCMP’s emergency response team and are trained to respond quickly (“within minutes”). The other guard at the memorial at first gave chase, then came back to help his friend (he can clearly be seen in the pictures). Despite having rifles, those guards cannot fire their weapons (no ammunition or breech blocks). Very unfortunate. While I do not want to see the country turned into an armed camp, at least those uniformed officials should be able to effectively respond to the occasional ‘rubby-dubby’ that is out to do real harm. That’s how far this should go.

    • It’s a series of questions….like the article asked for.

      Most of them haven’t been answered.

      And you appear to be making yours up.

      • “What if someone had needed a bathroom break?”
        Good question.
        I trust that the authorities will ‘come clean’ on this deception very soon.

        • Um yeah….not knowing there was an armed kook running around BECAUSE THEY HADN’T BEEN WARNED they could have walked out in the hall right into danger.

          Don’t try to get cute with me.

  4. Yes I know Kevin Vickers is a hero but I’m still waiting for him to be charged like hundreds of Canadians for Unsafe Storage of a Firearm. He says he kept a fully loaded pistol in a drawer in his desk, the law states that ammo should be storied separate from the weapon and they should be locked up.
    I think this law should be rescinded……….

    • Yes, the storage law is a paper tiger at best. Few gun owners I know pay any heed to it. It’s nobody’s damned business how I store my own property in my own home. Locking ammo separately from guns, and using trigger locks besides locking the guns up, makes them almost impossible to use in any urgent situation. I realize that’s what the law intends – to perhaps prevent a few hasty, impulsive shootings. But because it makes one’s own weapons so inaccessible, most gun owners keep at least one gun handy and unlocked, with ammo close by – defeating the purpose of the legislation. This is the way it was for 100 years in Canada and no new law is going to change that behaviour. And since no inspections are ever done (no governing party of any stripe would ever be so brazen and intrusive as to require inspection of our personal homes to see how guns are being stored) the law is unenforceable and useless. It is designed to look good on paper and assuage peoples’ worries, not for effectiveness.

  5. .. after firing 4 shots at the Cenotaph inc two that killed Cpl Cirillo, the gunman wounded an unarmed Commons security guard with another shot, may have fired another, and may have exchanged fire with an armed guard outside the Conservative caucus room (thus bullet holes in doors in opposite directions?)
    Is this when the gunman may have first been wounded?

    How many shots left in his 6 or 8 shot Winchester 94 lever action rifle now – without reloading? The CBC video caught sound of two clear shots, one minute prior to the final fusillade. That camera shows approx 8 RCMP, Police & Commons Security cautiously pursue down a hallway. One minute after those two previous shots, a single clear shot heard, then a 5 second gap, then the fusillade of 20 to 30 shots blurring/echoing in exactly 10 seconds.. shouts follow. The gunman is dead.

    So the questions nobody seems to want to ask are.. Was the gunman’s rifle empty? Did he have no extra ammo? They would have brayed it if he did have more ammo, no.. countless victims? Did he never reload? Damn hard while running like a madman or driving or hijacking another car, no? And why do we know he had a knife on his body – for mass beheadings its suggested?

    Who fired the single shot preceding the 10 second fusillade or ‘firefight’? If the gunman was hiding behind a slender pillar when Vickers flew thru the air to engage him, how could the other 8 or so pursuers fire such a barrage for 10 seconds without risk of killing Vickers too?

    How many fired 30-30 shells were collected as evidence – that rifle must eject to fire again, right? How many shots in total were fired or exchanged at the entrance to The Center Block. Why did Stephen Harper “exit” into a broom closet (after the ‘firefight’) and Tom Mulcair not, across the hall? Harper himself said he and the caucus heard the ‘firefight’ coming toward them, when it was actually static outside the Library alcove. Why did Tony Clement who bolted after the ‘firefight’ out a back door (leaving a quadrapalegic MP & others behind, to hide upstairs with several others, claim they ‘ran right into the firefight’?

    In what way is Speaker Scheer qualified to manage an investigation involving a homicide? Finally, what Conservative MP was brave enough to state the Prime Minister hid in a closet during a frightening crisis? Lots of questions eh ? ?