The scene was bound to happen.
What has become all too familiar to Americans, became an unfamiliar sight for Canadians Wednesday. A lone, armed intruder attacked Canada’s parliament, firing his weapon close to a room where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was speaking. A soldier at the nearby war memorial was shot dead.
Wednesday’s random violence is a rarity in Canada and left the nation stunned. The gunman was shot dead by the Sergeant at Arms of the Canadian Parliament shortly after the original shooting. Harper was unharmed.
Witnesses described a wild scene as the gunman entered the building firing his weapon as he ran. He was immediately pursued by police. The actual assault centered near a room where Harper was meeting with members of his Conservative party, a government minister said.
Random gun play is nothing new to Americans. Canada, as a staunch ally of the United States through two world wars, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan is now suffering the same random violence as Americans. This coming on the heels of Canada’s participation in the “war” against ISIS and their support of the American efforts.
It is imperative that the president immediately close ranks with one of the U.S.’s most loyal supporters, sharing intelligence information and counter-terrorism tactics with the Canadians.
Shortly after 10 am ET, the activities of the shooter, later identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, were being investigated. Two U.S. officials said U.S. agencies had been advised the man was a Canadian convert to Islam. The gunman was able to run through the unlocked front door of the main parliament building. Police conducted an operation immediately to apprehend him and make parliament safe.
More details of the two dead and those injured is under investigation with few details released. Gilles Michaud, assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, (RCMP), told a news conference after the shootings, “It caught us by surprise. If we had known that this was coming, we would have been able to disrupt it.”
What remains unclear is whether there was any connection between Wednesday’s shootings and an attack on Monday when a convert to Islam ran down two Canadian soldiers with his car, killing one, near Montreal. That suspect was shot dead by police in the first fatal attack on Canadian soil tied to Islamic militants.
Canada’s prime minister actually labeled the Ottawa shooting “The country’s second terrorist attack in three days.” Unusual words generally not uttered until a full and complete investigation has been made.
One thing is certain. The United States and Canada need to better coordinate their intelligence services. The U.S. must consider Canada and its safety top priority. This country can ill-afford to face a neighbor to the north that begins to weaken its bonds with America. President Obama must show strong leadership in what may be the tip of the iceberg for Canadian terrorism.
See the original NewsBlaze report of the shooting and the update: