OTTAWA — An independent report into the Oct. 22 storming of Parliament Hill concludes security forces were justified in using lethal force against gunman Michael Zehaf Bibeau.
The Canadian Press has learned the report contains a very detailed account of how Zehaf Bibeau was killed during the response by parliamentary security forces and RCMP members.
On Oct. 22, the Mounties asked the Ontario Provincial Police to conduct an independent, external investigation into the events that took place on the Hill resulting in Zehaf Bibeau’s death.
A week later, House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer asked the OPP to expand the investigation to include the actions of the House security personnel.
Scheer’s office said Wednesday it had received the report but, until internal analyses are complete, it would be inappropriate to comment further.
As a result, few details have emerged.
Related reading: Bearing Witness: Oct. 22 as told by those who were there
The report was initiated after Zehaf Bibeau fatally shot honour guard Cpl. Nathan Cirillo in the back at the National War Memorial on Oct. 22 and burst into the Hill’s Centre Block before being killed in a hail of bullets near the Library of Parliament.
A source with knowledge of the report said the “comprehensive account” of what took place that day concludes security forces acted appropriately in killing Zehaf Bibeau and that no followup action was recommended with regard to the use of lethal force.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the report publicly.
The OPP was also asked to conduct a separate review of the events that took place from Wellington Street, the thoroughfare in front of Parliament Hill, up to the doors of the Centre Block.
The RCMP was responsible for the grounds of the parliamentary precinct, while House of Commons and Senate security forces had jurisdiction inside the Parliament Buildings.
A now-merged parliamentary security force continues to patrol the interior spaces, but the RCMP has been given overall authority for security on Parliament Hill — a direct consequence of Oct. 22 that is intended to eliminate possible confusion.
In addition, Scheer outlined several other interim steps in November including installation of security posts outside the Centre Block to conduct preliminary screening of visitors. Tours during caucus meetings on Wednesday — the day the shooter rushed on to the Hill — were eliminated, and general limits were placed on the size of tour groups.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson told a Commons committee last month the Mounties consider Zehaf Bibeau a terrorist and that he would have been charged with terrorism offences under the Criminal Code had he survived.
The RCMP was still trying to determine if Zehaf Bibeau had accomplices, Paulson said.
“Anyone who aided him, abetted him, counselled him, facilitated his crimes or conspired with him is also in our view a terrorist and where the evidence exists we will charge them with terrorist offences.”
In a video made with a cellphone camera before his attack, Zehaf Bibeau said his actions were spurred by Canada’s military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He speaks of assaulting soldiers to show Canadians “that you’re not even safe in your own land, and you gotta be careful.”