Garbled radio call delayed police response to Parliament Hill attacker: RCMP
After Michael Zehaf Bibeau fatally shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo three times in the back last Oct. 22, an RCMP officer’s “garbled” radio transmission failed to alert her colleagues that “a guy with a gun” was headed for Centre Block.
Those details are revealed in a new report from the Ontario Provincial Police that looked into whether the six officers who fatally shot at Bibeau broke the law by using lethal force. The OPP concluded their actions were justified.
The report follows an earlier OPP report released in March that found the Mounties’ approach to security and protection of Parliament Hill was “highly inadequate.”
The new OPP report says the unnamed RCMP officer who made the garbled plea had seen Bibeau run up to a parked cabinet minister’s limousine, force the driver out and start driving it “at a high rate of speed.”
Just before that, the officer had been told by a woman with a baby carriage -- who was frantically trying to get into the back of the cruiser for safety -- that she had seen a man “carrying an object in his hand.”
A male RCMP officer had been parked directly in front of the Peace Tower and saw the limo Bibeau had hijacked drive right past him, but he never heard the radio message.
The report also reveals that Bibeau was shot at 56 times by six officers and hit by 31 bullets. Two of the shots would have been “rapidly fatal independently.”
The two fatal shots came from the guns of then-Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers and an unnamed RCMP officer.
After reading the report, former RCMP Deputy commissioner P.Y. Bourduas told CTV’s Power Play that he is troubled by the RCMP’s delayed action to “neutralize the threat.”
Bourduas said the report points to a need for more “scenario-based training.”
However, Bourduas said he is encouraged by some actions the government has already taken.
“For instance, $29 million has been earmarked for Parliament precinct security,” he said, “and also the announcement of the RCMP as the single point of accountability for security.”
NDP MP Jinny Sims told Power Play the report is “like a comedy of errors, except that it was very tragic.” She added that the “under-resourcing (of RCMP) is very clear.”
The OPP report released in March noted a “limited amount of resources” available to the RCMP on Parliament Hill due to budget cuts noted by the Auditor General in 2012.
Liberal MP Wayne Easter also said he is concerned about RCMP funding. “Budget cuts have an impact in terms of the training and the equipment,” he said, adding that more money might not have made a difference in this particular case.
Conservative MP Roxanne James said that funding for RCMP security on Parliament Hill increased from $3.5 million in 2007 to $15 million, and so “the claim that it was anything do with cuts is absolutely false.”
Some other details noted in the new OPP report:
- Bibeau was shot within seven seconds of entering the building.
- Bibeau was not wearing body armour.
- Toxicology tests showed he had no drugs in his system.
- An unarmed security guard initially tried to wrestle the rifle away from Bibeau, and the weapon fired, ricocheting into the guard’s leg.
- Bibeau ran up a set of stairs and made it to the Hall of Honour, passing rooms hosting Conservative and NDP caucus members, including the Prime Minister.