OTTAWA — Canadians returned to the grounds of their parliament building on Saturday, three days after a homegrown radical rushed in armed with a rifle after shooting dead a soldier in the second attack on the country’s military at home in a week. The grounds of the hilltop gothic building, whose clock tower is a centerpiece of Ottawa’s skyline, attracted scores of visitors, many still stunned by Wednesday's attack, which took place as Prime Minister Stephen Harper was meeting with lawmakers.
The attacks on Wednesday and Monday were the work of Canadian citizens, reported to be recent converts to Islam, who appear to have operated independently, police said. The first victim, 53-year-old Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent died when a man ran him over with a car in Quebec, while the second, 24-year-old Corporal Nathan Cirillo, was gunned down by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau while standing a ceremonial watch at a monument to Canada's war dead near Parliament Hill.
Police presence was light at the grounds, which had been closed to the public since Wednesday, and flags flew at half mast from the tops of stone turrets. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is asking the public for help in tracing the movements of Zehaf-Bibeau from Oct. 2- 22. Officials are trying to pin down a motive for the shootings, although they believe he may have been upset over a hold up in his passport. Family said he was trying to go to Syria.
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