U.S. congressional lawmakers expressed sympathy and outrage Thursday in the wake of a gunman killing a soldier at an Ottawa war memorial before being shot dead inside the Canadian capital’s parliament building.
Canadian officials called Wednesday’s incident that claimed the life of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo as he stood guard at Ottawa’s National War Memorial a terrorist act. The gunman, identified as 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was fatally shot by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers just outside the Member of Parliament’s caucus room, according to media reports.
Wednesday’s incident came a day after another gunman killed a soldier in Quebec.
Canadian officials and various new organizations described Zehaf-Bibeau as a convert to Islam who had a history of drug use. His passport had been confiscated by Canadian officials.
‘The attack in Ottawa is yet another reminder that homegrown terrorism is a real threat not only to our country but to our allies as well,’ Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee said Thursday. ‘My prayers go out to the family of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and to our friends in Canada who were affected by yesterday’s shooting.’
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Wednesday that his chamber ‘sends its strongest support to the Canadian people and to the government and Parliament.’
‘While we are still seeking answers as to the motivation and intention of the attacks on Canadian forces and on the Parliament over the last two days, Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper and Speaker (Andrew) Scheer have and will continue to have friends and allies in the U.S. Congress who are prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with them against our common enemies and who are prepared to move forward in our aims to improve the quality of life and economic opportunities for both our countries.’
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a possible 2016 presidential candidate, said the attacks in Canada are ‘yet another painful reminder that declaring wars to be over does not end them.’
‘Radical jihadists remain committed to waging war against anyone who does not share their warped ideology, which is why we must defeat them wherever they reside and work to reduce the risk of self-radicalization of individuals in our societies,’ Rubio said.