Ottawa Shooting: Gunman Son of Immigration Chief, Father a Libyan National

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau Parliament Hill Shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau

[updated, see additional below]

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, suspect of the October 22 terrorist attack on Canada’s War Memorial, Parliament Building, and murder of Cpl Nathan Cirillo is the son of Susan Bibeau. Susan serves as deputy chair of Canada’s Immigrant and Refugee Board Division. 

Susan holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Montreal and an MBA from Concordia University. There is no suggestion she had any role in her son’s actions.

Zehaf-Bibeau’s father is a Libyan national who may have traveled to fight in Libya in 2011 at the beginning of the “Arab Spring”, according to Mail Online. His parents were divorced in 1999.  Read more at IBT

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Bob Paulson released a surveillance video of the alleged shooter along with details of a passport situation:

Paulson said Thursday that Zehaf-Bibeau had recently applied for a passport, and authorities now believe he intended to go to Syria.

“The passport was part of his motivation. His application was not rejected. His passport was not revoked,” Paulson said. “He was waiting to get it and there was an investigation going on to determine to see whether he would get a passport.”

Paulson said that the suspect’s mother told them about her son’s desire to go to Syria.

Regardless of the status of Zehaf-Bibeau’s passport or lack thereof, Canada will soon face a situation that it must be prepared to handle.

In response to a growing concern of radical Islamists attempting to travel abroad to join groups like ISIS, Canadian officials have imposed tighter travel restrictions (Combating Terrorism Act, 2013) and have been seizing passports of potential travelers it considers high-risk in order to keep them from exiting the country. Assuming passports and travel documents are not forged, these measures will of course result in high-risk individuals hoping to wage jihad abroad couped up within Canada’s borders. And unless charged for terrorist-related acts or for conspiracy to commit, these individuals will be free to simmer in the country with no where to go. Therefore, the drawback to this tactic is obvious and may very well be what we have seen in the case of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Part of me worries that Canada is slowly boiling itself in a kettle of water.

We’ve since learned that Zehaf-Bibeau acted alone, although I worry about what could have happened if he had just one more screwball with him to commit a simultaneous attack or work as a team in the Parliament building. If Zehaf-Bibeau hadn’t taken time to fire the three shots at the War Memorial, murdering Cpl Nathan Cirillo standing guard, perhaps the gunman could have taken even more lives in the Parliament building. Even after shooting Cpl Cirillo, the gunman made his way well into the Parliament building on a day that the maximum amount of politicians were in session.

Perhaps the most alarming part of the whole incident is the fact that this guy got so far into the Parliament building with a lever action Winchester rifle. Now that’s a big honking gun. In comparison, imagine the damage that a well executed attack by three or four gunmen with Glocks or even revolvers could do. And If there’s one thing that the world learned about Canada’s Parliament on October 22nd, it’s that it is was wide open. A sitting duck. Therefore the country’s stricter handle on international travel, when combined with Canada’s lax immigration policy, makes me uneasy about the security of not just those on Parliament Hill, but its soldiers in uniform and its citizens. I’m hoping that both Canada and its southern neighbor wake up before realizing they’re both cooked.


Update 3: Ottawa attacker used lever action rifle, not a semi-automatic ‘assault weapon’

Update 2: Canadian police released surveillance video of alleged shooter and announced he had recently applied for a passport and was “hoping to leave for Syria.”

Update 1: Mother Susan Zehaf-Bibeau speaks: