Sergeant-at-Arms Hailed as Hero in Canada Attack

Kevin Vickers shot gunman inside Parliament building
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2014 4:22 PM CDT
Sergeant-at-Arms Hailed as Hero in Canada Attack
A Royal Canadian Mounted Police team walks past a gate on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)

Coordinated terror attack? One gunman or maybe three? Much confusion remains about the assault on Canada's capital today, but one thing clear in the aftermath is that Parliament sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers is being hailed as a hero. The 58-year-old former police officer is credited with shooting the assailant inside the Parliament building, just outside its occupied caucus rooms, reports the Globe and Mail of Toronto. Here's a sample of one many tweets, this from Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino: "I am safe & profoundly grateful to Sgt at Arms Kevin Vickers & our security forces for selfless act of keeping us safe." (Fantino was in a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper inside Parliament when the assault took place, reports the Toronto Sun. Harper is safe, too.) Another member of Parliament, Craig Scott, says he and his colleagues "owe their safety, even lives" to Vickers, reports the New York Times.

CBS News, meanwhile, appears to be the first to identify the gunman, who was shot dead: It quotes anonymous sources naming him as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who is believed to have been born in Canada in 1982. By most accounts, he fatally shot a soldier standing guard at the nation's National War Memorial, then made his way across the street to Parliament. The AP includes this quote from a witness: "I looked out the window and saw a shooter, a man dressed all in black with a kerchief over his nose and mouth and something over his head as well, holding a rifle and shooting an honor guard in front of the cenotaph point-blank, twice." The slain soldier has been identified as 24-year-old Nathan Cirillo, reports the CBC. A police spokesperson says up to three shooters may have been involved. Three people were being treated for injuries related to the shooting at Ottawa Hospital. (The attack follows an apparently deliberate hit-and-run that killed a soldier in Quebec.)

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