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Ottawa shooting: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau has no criminal record in Calgary, says police chief

10/23/2014 06:29 EDT | Updated 12/23/2014 05:59 EST
Calgary's police chief says Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the man responsible for shooting a soldier in Ottawa, has no criminal record in the city.

Rick Hanson said RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson misspoke earlier on Thursday when he said Zehaf-Bibeau had a criminal past in the city.

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Paulson also ​said he could not link Zehaf-Bibeau with a radical study group that has operated in the city at this time.

He held a news conference in Ottawa today where he talked about the radicalization of Zehaf-Bibeau.

He said the gunman who stormed Parliament Hill on Wednesday was not among the 93 "high-risk" individuals being monitored as potentially violent radicals, nor was he linked to the man who attacked two soldiers earlier this week in Quebec.

When asked if police could have done more, Paulson says there are limitations — something that may have to change.

"We are able to act decisively, quickly and preventatively and perhaps at a threshold that is somewhat lower," he said. "You know without throwing someone in jail for ever, but being able to act decisively at a point when the suspicion is realized."

CBC searches of court documents have failed to turn up any record of Zehaf-Bibeau in Calgary.

Preventing radicalization

The head of a local Muslim group says he doesn't know anything about Zehaf-Bibeau.

Mahdi Qasqas helped organize a recent conference to prevent the radicalization of Muslim youth. He says he is not aware of anyone in the local community who knew the 32-year-old.

Qasqas says things can be done to prevent radicalization.

He's in the process of finding more mentors — people who have actually been to war zones — and who can help talk to disillusioned young people about any feelings towards violence.

Mayor pays respect

Calgary's mayor paid his respects today to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the reservist killed at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Wednesday.

A makeshift memorial of flowers and cards is set up outside the armoury where Cirillo trained.  

"How could I not come on behalf of the citizens of the City of Calgary here to be able to bring the respects ... and the thoughts and the prayers of our 1.2 million citizens," he said. 

Nenshi is in Hamilton to address that city's chamber of commerce.

Calgarian battles anti-Muslim comments

The past 24 hours have been very difficult for many people, including Muslims living here in Calgary.

Safa Abida, a student at the University of Calgary, says she's been posting positive thoughts on the internet in an effort to counteract some of the anti-Muslim comments she's seeing.

But Abida says she hasn't experienced anything negative personally so far.

Abida says no one should leap to conclusions about the man behind the Ottawa shooting.

"Whether it was mental illness or whether it was political or ideological, that it doesn't ... stigmatize people," she said.

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