An armed member of the Canadian military crashed a truck through a gate on the grounds where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lives in Ottawa on Thursday and was quickly arrested by police, Canada’s Global News reported on Friday.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said the man crashed his truck through a gate protecting the exclusive Rideau Hall grounds early Thursday morning and then walked to a greenhouse on the property “where he was rapidly contained by RCMP members who were on patrol in the area.” According to the RCMP, Trudeau was not present on the grounds at the time of the incident.
“The armed suspect was apprehended shortly before 8:30 am [on Thursday] without any incident and he was brought into police custody for questioning … the suspect’s identity will be confirmed as soon as possible,” the RCMP said in a statement.
Sources told Canada’s Global News on Friday that “the suspect was a member of the Canadian Rangers, a group of reservists responsible for patrolling Canada’s North.” The Canadian Forces issued a statement on Thursday confirming that the man is a member.
“We can confirm that the individual arrested by the RCMP this morning in the vicinity of Rideau Hall is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces,” the statement said.
According to the sources, “the man had multiple firearms” including “one rifle and two shotguns” and “told police he did not want to hurt them or anyone there.”
“The man had one of the firearms in his hand when he was arrested,” the sources said.
One source told the news outlet that “the man indicated he wanted to speak to the prime minister and send him a message. He surrendered to police peacefully.”
“The man said he had recently lost his job and expressed frustration about government payouts amid the coronavirus pandemic. He said Ottawa wasn’t doing enough,” the sources added.
Trudeau lives temporarily at Rideau Hall, where Canada’s Governor-General, Julie Payette, resides. Like Trudeau, Payette was not on the grounds of the property at the time of Thursday’s incident. Trudeau and his family have lived in a large house on the grounds of Rideau Hall since 2015, while the prime minister’s traditional residence undergoes major renovations, the Ottawa Citizen reported.