OTTAWA — The October shootings in Ottawa are a “grim reminder that Canada is ill-prepared” to stop terrorist attacks, a long-awaited Ontario Provincial Police report concludes.
The report, one among several released Wednesday, says the RCMP’s ability to protect Parliament Hill has been stretched by resource issues stemming from budget cuts imposed in 2012 by the Conservative government.
There were missed opportunities to stop Michael Zehaf Bibeau from entering the Centre Block on Oct. 22, RCMP assistant commissioner Gilles Michaud told a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa.
Those missed opportunities were a result of systemic problems, not human errors, Michaud said. “There is nobody from our perspective that is to blame for this.”
The RCMP has not disciplined anyone for their actions that day, he added.
The reports provide graphic details of Zehaf Bibeau’s shooting rampage on Oct. 22.
Zehaf Bibeau first shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo as he stood guard at the National War Memorial, just off Parliament Hill.
“Michael Zehaf Bibeau raised and pointed his rifle at Cpl. Cirillo and fired one shot into his back,” the report said.
“Cpl. Cirillo started to fall to his hands and knees. As Cpl.Cirillo started to crawl towards the east side of the tomb, Michael Zehaf Bibeau fired another shot into Cirillo’s lower back.
“Cpl. Cirillo moved to the east side of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and lay on his stomach in the prone position. Zehaf Bibeau moved towards the fallen soldier and fired a third and final shot into the back of Cpl. Cirillo.”
A tourist pushing a baby stroller saw Zehaf Bibeau run onto Parliament Hill and ran to an RCMP officer sitting in a cruiser near the East Block.
The woman tried to get into the back seat of the cruiser, fearing for her life, and delayed the officer long enough that Zehaf Bibeau drove by in a commandeered vehicle.
Michaud said the officer tried to radio others about the gunman’s presence, but her message was garbled and couldn’t be understood.
The OPP report says Zehaf Bibeau was shot multiple times when he stormed the Centre Block, with the first bullets hitting him seven seconds after he burst through the front door.
The documents say Zehaf Bibeau was felled by 31 bullets, two of which would have been fatal.
The gunman wasn’t wearing body armour; the report says had he been more organized, the incident could have been a great deal worse.