The gunman who killed a soldier before storming Canada's Parliament last week was not a terrorist but a mentally ill man acting out of desperation, his mother says. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's mother tells the National Post that her son was confused and deeply unhappy and turned to Islam to try to make sense of the world. He had planned to go to Saudi Arabia, not Syria as authorities have said, and appears to have snapped after he was unable to get a passport, she says. "He was mad and felt trapped, so the only way out was death," she says, describing his "last desperate act" as "wrong and despicable" and herself as ashamed, guilty, and angry.
"Most will call my son a terrorist; I don't believe he was part of an organization or acted on behalf of some grand ideology or for a political motive," says the mother, who had no contact with Zehaf-Bibeau for five years before meeting him for lunch the week before the Ottawa attack. Police, however, say a video recorded before the attack sets out "ideological and political motives," reports the BBC. Canada's top police official says investigators are looking into Zehaf-Bibeau's contact with "numerous individuals" in the time leading up to the attack. He says the gunman, who used an "old and uncommon" shotgun, had managed to amass a "considerable amount of funds" before the attack by working in Alberta's oil fields.