Canadian officials name dead suspect in soldier shooting | News | DW | 22.10.2014
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Canadian officials name dead suspect in soldier shooting

Canadian authorities have named a suspect after a gunman shot dead a soldier near the country's parliament. The shooter was killed by police inside the assembly building, but officials fear accomplices may be at large.

Officials identified the Ottawa gunman as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on Wednesday, without giving any immediate details on possible motives.

Canadian national newspaper The Globe and Mail quoted federal sources as saying that the 32-year-old had been recently designated a "high-risk traveler" by the Canadian government. The paper's sources said his passport had been confiscated.

Before releasing the name, police said they were dealing with a "dynamic, unfolding situation" with two or three other gunman believed to have been involved.

The soldier who was killed was identified by his family as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada infantry regiment.

Cirillo was gunned down at point-blank range at the National War Memorial, where he had been posted, by a man carrying a rifle and dressed in black, his face half covered. The man was said to have raised his arms in triumph after the killing, before entering the Canadian parliament building

As many as 30 shots were heard inside the building as people inside fled and took cover. The gunman was said to have been shot by the parliament's sergeant-at-arms - a post that is normally purely ceremonial.

Residents, meanwhile, were urged to stay clear of Ottawa's downtown area.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has condemned the "despicable attack," in a statement. Harper "reiterated the importance of the continued functioning of the government and our parliament."

By afternoon local time, police said their investigation continued, but did not confirm earlier reports of more gunmen. Officers backed by armored vehicles sealed off the parliament building.

"We are actively looking for suspects right now, so we don't know if it is suspect one or suspects plural," Ottawa Police Constable Marc Soucy told the news agency Reuters.

The police had no immediate word on the gunman's motive, but the attack came a day after officers shot to death a man who allegedly drove over two soldiers, killing one, in what authorities branded a terrorist attack.

Officials had raised the security threat level from low to medium after the car attack, which came as Canada approved jets to join the US-led air armada bombarding the "Islamist State" group in Iraq.

The level "means that intelligence has indicated that an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism," the Public Safety Ministry announced.

rc/av(Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

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