RCMP, security officers honoured for stopping Parliament Hill attack
Nearly 18 months after the deadly shooting on Parliament Hill, members of the RCMP and the House of Commons Protective Service were publicly honoured for their role in stopping the attack.
The ceremony took place at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, where Gov. Gen. David Johnston presented nine Medals of Bravery and six Stars of Courage.
"None of you asked to be decorated with Stars of Courage or Medals of Bravery. Indeed, being good Canadians it probably makes you more than a little uncomfortable," Johnston said at the ceremony.
"(But) we're here because on a day of great tragedy and suffering you gave us something different. You reminded us that while human beings are indeed capable of doing the worst to each other, we're also capable of the best."
Another RCMP officer, who could not attend, will also be presented with a Star of Courage.
On Oct. 22, 2014, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau fatally shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was standing guard at the Canadian National War Memorial on Parliament Hill.
Zehaf-Bibeau was eventually gunned down by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers and six RCMP officers who fired dozens of shots, 31 of which hit their target, after the gunman entered Centre Block.
The RCMP faced criticized for waiting to honour the Mounties who helped corner and take down Zehaf-Bibeau prior to a private ceremony in November.
The officers also did not receive an invitation to the official commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the shooting last October.
Meanwhile, Vickers received a standing ovation in the House of Commons and was appointed ambassador to Ireland for his role in the gunfight.
At Monday's event, Const. Louis Letourneau, who tracked the gunman down the Hall of Honour and fired several times, said that he was just doing his job.
"From the first shot till the last, I was there … I never took my eyes off him till the end," Letourneau told CTV Ottawa.
RCMP Const. Michelle Bergeron, who was one of the officers who entered the Centre Block in a tactical formation and cornered Zehaf-Bibeau, said she lives with the memories of the attack "everyday."
"Some members that I've worked with will hopefully never experience anything like that," said Bergeron.
"I have, so it will be with me the rest of my career."
Here's a full list of security personnel honoured on Monday:
- RCMP Const. Curtis Barrett, who will be awarded the Star of Courage at a future ceremony.
- RCMP Const. Michelle Bergeron
- RCMP Const. Gary Bubelis
- RCMP Const. Somoza Celestin
- RCMP Cpl. Dany Daigle
- RCMP Const. Martin Fraser
- Const. Louis Letourneau
- Cpl. Maxim Malo
- RCMP Const. Sylvie Marcoux
- RCMP Const. Michel Palmer
- RCMP Sgt. Richard Rozon
- RCMP Const. Patrick Ruest
- Const. Samearn Son
- Const. Charles Thom
- RCMP Const. Herbert Waye
- Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers
With files from CTV Ottawa