Ottawa Attack: Lawmakers Made Flagpoles Into Spears

Stephen Harper hid in closet for 15 minutes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2014 3:55 AM CDT
Conservative MP Tilly O'Neill Gordon hugs Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who opened fire on the attacker.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)
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(Newser) – If gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau had made it as far as a caucus room during his attack on Canada's Parliament, he would have had numerous spear-wielding Conservative lawmakers to deal with. An MP tells the Globe and Mail that after gunfire was heard, lawmakers snapped more than a dozen flagpoles to make spears and flanked the doors of the meeting room, "ready to impale anyone who came in." Prime Minister Stephen Harper, meanwhile, was quickly whisked into a closet, where he remained for 15 minutes until his security detail rescued him. The MP says most lawmakers kept their flagpole spears and that he plans to get his framed.

Zehaf-Bibeau's motive for the attack is still unclear, but more has emerged about his past. In 2011, he told a judge in British Columbia that he committed a robbery in order to be sent to jail and overcome his addiction to crack cocaine, reports the CBC. His psychiatrist told the court his client had been a devout Muslim for seven years and believed "he must spend time in jail as a sacrifice to pay for his mistakes in the past." Canada's foreign minister tells the BBC that no links have been found between the 32-year-old and ISIS militants, and although he was "certainly radicalized," he was not on a list of high-risk individuals. The country's top police official told reporters yesterday that Zehaf-Bibeau came to the capital to try to get a passport to travel to Syria, and the travel document probably "figured prominently in his motives."

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