Canadian soldier slain in cold blood
CLAY DUBBERLY ’DOAH CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Canadian soldier Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, was gunned down Oct. 22 by Michael Zihaf-Bibeau while on ceremonial guard duty at the Canadian National War Memorial.
Cirillo was standing watch in ceremonial uniform with white gloves alongside another soldier when he was shot in his back with “cata- strophic” wounds, according to Peter Henderson, the other soldier present during the attack.
Four shots were fired, and soon Cirillo was lying dead on the ground.
Cpl. Cirillo’s funeral was held Tuesday, Oct. 28. “His smile will live in our hearts forever. I am proud to say I knew someone who put his life on the line for this country,” wrote one woman who went to his house growing up on an online page of recollections.
Jim Watson, the mayor of Ottawa, said in a statement before Cirillo’s identity was released: “This individual would have been a trained combat soldier sadly taken in this cowardly ambush, which makes the tragedy even greater.”
Cirillo left behind a son who just started kindergarten. A classmate recalled Cirillo as “always so funny and always had a smile for people as he would walk down the hallways.”Watson said, “It appears there was just one shooter, and that shooter is dead. But it has been a traumatic experience, obviously, for not only our city but the country.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “President Obama, the State Department and our entire administration pledge to work even more closely with your leaders at every level in order to deter and prevent terrorist attacks.”Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, was a recent convert to Islam. Cops claimed that he planned to venture to Syria to join a ter- rorist group. He said in a video made before the attack that in response to Canada’s foreign policy he will act in the name of Allah.
After shooting Cirillo, the gunman went into the nearby Parliament complex. He died in an exchange of fire while lawmakers took refuge nearby. The Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was taken to safety. Canadian Deputy House Leader Kevin Lamoureux was one level below the shootout.
“I heard rapid fire — gunshots going very loud — and I figure maybe 20-plus shots within 10 seconds.” The gunfire began in the foyer of the Parliament building, then the second round began a minute later near the library. A top security official was cred- ited with shooting the gunman inside the Parliament building.
Roughly 4,000 people attended Cirillo’s funeral, 1,000 of which were military members. The Rev. Robert Fead offered solace to Cirillo’s family: “We can- not possibly imagine the grief you are experiencing today, but I want to thank you for allowing us — the en- tire country of Canada — to share in that grief at the loss of a brave young soldier. But now he is Canada’s son.” Cpl. Cirillo was the lone casualty of the attack, murdered in cold blood, and will be remembered as a “strong, smiling hero.”