Canada's PM Says Shooting Rampage Was Terrorism

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The NYPD is beefing up security at New York City locations associated with the Canadian government after gunfire erupted at the country’s capital Wednesday.

Authorities said there have been no specific threats made against any locations in the city, but the NYPD is taking precautions in response to the shootings.

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PHOTOS: Canadian Parliament Shooting

The NYPD has placed “Hercules” teams, their very visible, heavily armed special services unit, at the Consulate General of Canada in Midtown and at other locations associated with Canada.

NYPD officers with helmets, vests, automatic rifles and a police dog could be seen outside the consulate on Sixth Avenue on Wednesday afternoon.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday the NYPD is actively investigating the backgrounds of Canadian gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and another suspected terrorist who ran over two Canadian soldiers with his car.

“We will certainly be looking for any nexus back in the United States — travel, etc., of this individual,” Bratton said of Zehaf-Bibeau, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

Bratton said the NYPD wants to know if the attackers each acted alone or whether they are part of a larger plot. He added that, if either or both of the men are linked to the Islamic State extremist group, investigators would want to know more about how they were radicalized.

“Our area of focus is that the radicals have been promulgating the lone wolves to take action and one of actions they have encouraged is use of vehicles,” Bratton said.

Bratton said a vehicle was also used in a recent attack in Israel that killed a 3-month-girl whose mother was from Rockland County, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

Security Remains Tight In Canada

Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, killed a soldier standing guard at Ottawa’s war memorial shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday. The suspect then stormed Parliament in a dramatic attack that was stopped cold when he was shot to death by the ceremonial sergeant-at-arms.

“We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed in a nationally televised address.

Harper called it the country’s second terrorist attack in three days. A man Harper described as an “ISIL-inspired terrorist” on Monday ran over two soldiers in a parking lot in Quebec, killing one and injuring another before being shot to death by police. Like the suspect from Wednesday’s shooting in Ottawa, he was a recent convert to Islam.

Security has since been beefed up at government buildings across Canada.

Investigators offered little information about Zehaf-Bibeau, a petty criminal. But Harper said, “In the days to come, we will learn about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had.”

In a brief and tear-filled telephone interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, the suspect’s mother said she is crying for the victims of the shooting, not her son.

Susan Bibeau said she did not know what to say to those hurt in the attack.

“Can you ever explain something like this?” she said. “We are sorry.”

Witnesses said the soldier posted at the National War Memorial, identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, was gunned down at point-blank range by a man carrying a rifle and dressed all in black, his face half-covered with a scarf. The gunman appeared to raise his arms in triumph, then entered Parliament, a few hundred yards away, where dozens of shots soon rang out, according to witnesses.

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People fled the complex by scrambling down scaffolding erected for renovations, while others took cover inside as police with rifles and body armor took up positions outside and cordoned off the normally bustling streets around Parliament.

On Twitter, Canada’s justice minister and other government officials credited 58-year-old sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers with shooting the attacker just outside the MPs’ caucus rooms. Vickers serves a largely ceremonial role at the House of Commons, carrying a scepter and wearing rich green robes, white gloves and a tall imperial hat.

Members of Parliament gave Vickers a rousing standing ovation for saving their lives as Parliament resumed Thursday morning.

In Washington, President Barack Obama condemned the shootings as “outrageous” and said, “We have to remain vigilant.”

The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa was locked down as a precaution and security was tightened at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington.

The FBI said in a statement there was “no specific reporting indicating a threat to the United States” related to the incident.

“We stand ready to assist our Canadian partners as they deal with the ongoing situation in their capital,” the agency said.

Harper vowed that the attacks will “lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts” to keep the country safe and work with Canada’s allies to fight terrorists.

Court records that appear to be the gunman’s show that he had a long rap sheet, with a string of convictions for assault, robbery, drug and weapons offenses, and other crimes.

Canadian authorities say Zehaf-Bibeau was a Canadian citizen who recently converted to Islam. He was born Michael Joseph Hall in Quebec.

U.S. officials said his passport was revoked by the Canadian government because he’d been in contact with people in Syria. They’re not ruling out the possibility that he may have been inspired by ISIS and may have had plans to join fighters there.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. had video of the gunman going to his car alone with his weapon after the shooting at the memorial. The car was later spotted parked in front of Parliament Hill, just down the block.

Cabinet minister Tony Clement tweeted that at least 30 shots were heard inside Parliament, where Conservative and Liberal MPs were holding their weekly caucus meetings.

“I was just taking off my jacket to go into caucus. I hear this pop, pop, pop. Possibly 10 shots, don’t really know. Thought it was dynamite or construction rather than anything else,” said John McKay, a member of Parliament.

WCBS 880 spoke with Canada MP Marc Garneau, who was also in the building when the shots were fired.

“This is not a place where you expect somebody to storm the place and start firing at everybody, so it was quite traumatic for some people,” he said.

Canada had raised its domestic terror threat level from low to medium Tuesday because of what it called “an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations.”

As recently as Tuesday, Canada sent eight fighter jets to the Mideast to join the battle against Islamic State.

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