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Canadian Parliament shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau: what we know and what we don't know

A 2007 photo shows the Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa
A 2007 photo shows the Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa

A gunman entered Canada's Parliament building in Ottawa on Wednesday morning, where he fired multiple shots. The shooter, who killed a soldier, has now been identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a 32-year-old Canadian. Zehaf-Bibeau was killed during the firefight, but there are unconfirmed reports of possible additional shooters, and much of downtown Ottawa is locked down. Here is a running guide to what we know and do not know about the shooting and Zehaf-Bibeau.

What we know

— Zehaf-Bibeau entered Parliament Hill, in downtown Ottawa, on Wednesday morning, where he fired multiple shots both outside and inside the Parliament building.

— At least two uniformed Canadians, a soldier and a Parliament security guard, were shot.

The former, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, was serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Ontario. He was shot outside the national war memorial adjacent to Parliament Hill. He is now deceased.

Zehaf-Bibeau entered the Parliament building, where he fired multiple shots and was fired on by police. The building was locked down by police.

— This video, shot by a Globe reporter, is from the shooting inside of Parliament. The shooter is not visible, but many shots can be heard, indicating the extent of the firefight:

— Much of downtown Ottawa has been locked down in response, including the US embassy; reporters on the ground describe the normally bustling streets as looking like a ghost town. The lockdown was ongoing as of 5pm EST Wednesday afternoon.

— This photo from Getty shows emergency workers loading Cirillo into an ambulance:


— There was no shooting at the nearby Rideau Center, as some outlets had previously reported.

— Zehaf-Bibeau's name shows up three times in the Canadian criminal database, including two arrests ten years ago for possession of, respectively, marijuana and PCP. He failed to arrive to a court date in 2006 for marijuana charges, but pled guilty over three years later. All of these arrests were in Montreal. Assuming there aren't any other 32 year old Canadians named Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, it's probably him.

What we don't know

— Why Zehaf-Bibeau attacked the parliament. That's just totally unclear at this point.

— What kind of weapon he used. There have been reports of both rifles and shotguns.

— Whether this tweet, sent by an account that claims to be affiliated with ISIS and purports to show "the Ottawa gunman," is a picture of Zehaf-Bibeau or in any other way legitimate:

Zehaf-Bibeau isis


— Whether there is more than one shooter, as some reports from journalists on the scene suggest. In active shooter situations, reports of second shooters often surface and are later disproven. Canadian officials would neither confirm nor deny reports of multiple shooters at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

Two US officials told Reuters that he was a convert to Islam, but there's no public evidence to that effect nor any indication that the shooting was related to his faith.

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