POLITICS

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo's Partner Chased Gunman: Military Source

10/23/2014 02:12 EDT | Updated 12/23/2014 05:59 EST
The Hamilton reservist standing guard alongside Nathan Cirillo briefly chased the attacker before returning to the National War Memorial to try and revive his wounded friend.

Ron Foxcroft, the Honourary Colonel of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada regiment, said Brandon Stevenson showed "tremendous bravery" in pursuing the shooter, later identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

"The only thing I know is he tried to go after the shooter. That’s all I know, and I’ve been told that by several people,” Foxcroft said.

“I think he just went a few yards, but the shooter had such a head start on him.”

Neither Stevenson nor Cirillo were armed when the attack took place. The rifles they carried as honourary guards were not loaded.

Stevenson returned to Cirillo's side and tried, along with several bystanders, to revive the wounded reservist, Foxcroft said. Cirillo was transported to hospital where he died of his injuries. 

The pair were both colleagues and friends, Foxcroft said. Several photos posted on a Facebook memorial page devoted to Cirillo show the two together, either in military clothing or our partying.

"They were very close. Obviously, (Stevenson) is in a state that we’d all be if we just lost our best friend," Foxcroft said, adding he's already getting grief counselling.

"We have people down there with him in Ottawa and we’re arranging to get him back to Hamilton."

Sisters overcome with grief

Outside the armoury, Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina said the Argylls sent 68 soldiers to Afghanistan and they all came back, only to lose one on home soil while serving as an honourary guard. He added in visiting with the family Wednesday night, he spoke with Cirillo's two older sisters. 

"They were grief stricken to the point where we weren't able to converse at too great a length," Bratina said, adding Cirillo's son was wondering why his aunts were crying. 

Pat Daly, chair of the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board, where it's believed Cirillo's son, Marcus, is attending kindergarten, said all the schools are flying flags at half mast Thursday. 

While he could not confirm Marcus was in the catholic school system, he did say grief counsellors have been made available. 

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