Canadian Gunman Was Hoping to Leave for Syria

A law enforcement official confirms to ABC News that this is a photo of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. The photo was posted to a pro-ISIS Twitter account that has since been suspended.(OTTAWA, Ontario) — The Canadian man who was shot dead after he killed a soldier and invaded the country’s Parliament was in Ottawa for a passport issue and was hoping to leave for Syria, a top police official said on Thursday.

Police released more information about Wednesday’s shooting as information emerged that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, had become homeless and his angry demeanor prompted a mosque last year to ask him to leave.

Zehaf-Bibeau had been in Ottawa since Oct. 2 to deal with a passport issue, police said, and that he “was hoping to leave for Syria.”

Syria has become a magnet for radicalized Islamists fighting for the militant ISIS or other radical Islamic groups.

An American source briefed on Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, has revealed that he crossed over into the United States in the past, most recently in autumn 2013.

Around the same time as Zehaf-Bibeau’s most recent trip to the U.S., he was caught trying to illegally live out of a mosque in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Aasim Rashid, a spokesman for British Columbia’s Muslim Association, told ABC News that while he didn’t know Zehaf-Bibeau personally, former administrators of the Masjid al-Salaam mosque told him that Zehaf-Bibeau was “in and out” for a couple of months in 2013.

“He had a problem speaking politely, used some vulgar language,” Rashid said.

“He had some discussions with the administration that he was complaining that the mosque was so open and welcoming to Muslims as well as non-Muslims,” Rashid told ABC News. “The chairman sat him down and said, ‘Look, this is how we run this mosque….The mosque has always been welcoming and will stay that way. And if you have a problem with that you’re going to have go somewhere else.’”

Zehaf-Bibeau was reportedly arrested at some point during that period of time and after he was released, someone found him sleeping at Masjid al-Salaam, Rashid said.

“He had found a key there. He had been using the mosque to camp out. He did not have a home. The mosque asked him to leave and changed the locks,” he said.

“He wasn’t acting all that normal. His demeanor was such that people around him didn’t feel comfortable around him,” Rashid said.

The gunman, whose full name is listed as Michael Joseph Paul Zehaf Bibeau in Vancouver court documents, had been arrested in the past.

In 2004, he was arrested on drug-related charges when he lived in Montreal, according to court documents.

He was later charged with robbery in 2011 in Vancouver, though the outcome of both cases were not immediately clear, the documents indicate.

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