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Armed man arrested near Justin Trudeau's residence

03 Jul 2020 19:11, Somoy English Desk
Armed man arrested near Justin Trudeau's residence
Armed man arrested near Justin Trudeau's residence

Canadian police have arrested an armed reservist after he rammed a truck through security gates and drove toward the official residences of both the prime minister and governor general.

A black pickup truck “breached the main pedestrian entrance” of Ottawa’s sprawling Rideau Hall around 6:30am” on Thursday, the RCMP said in a statement.

Justin Trudeau and his family were not present on the property at the time of the incident, said police. Governor general Julie Payette was not at Rideau Hall either, reports The Guardian. 

Police say the vehicle was “disabled” following impact with the wrought iron gates, but still travelled a few hundred metres inside the grounds. The intruder then travelled by foot towards a greenhouse where he was intercepted by police.

“While an RCMP member began dialogue with the suspect, the RCMP national division emergency response team was also dispatched and arrived shortly after 7am,” the RCMP said in a statement. Nearly two hours after he first breached the gates, the intruder was brought into custody “without any incident”. Police have said charges are pending and have not released the identity of the suspect.

 The military confirmed the man is a member of the armed forces. “The Canadian armed forces is collaborating closely with the RCMP,” the military said in a statement.

The man is believed to have been armed with a rifle and two shotguns, according to Global News, but is alleged to have wanted to speak with the prime minister—not harm him. The suspect is also believed to have travelled from Manitoba – a distance of almost 1,900km (1,180 miles).

Following his arrest, police searched the truck with two robots. Inside was a bright orange cooler, a leather jacket and military rations, according to the Toronto Star.

Rideau Hall is the official residence of governor general Julie Payette. But since he became prime minister in 2015, Trudeau and his family have lived at Rideau Cottage on the grounds during renovations to 24 Sussex, the prime minister’s official, but long dilapidated, residence in Ottawa.

Despite the Thursday morning scare, security breaches and threats against the prime minister are relatively rare in Canada.

In 1995, a knife-wielding attacker broke into 24 Sussex and was arrested outside the bedroom of then prime minister Jean Chrétien and his wife, Aline. Chrétien later told reporters he had armed himself with an Inuit stone carving as a weapon in the event the intruder was able to enter the room.

At a campaign rally in October last year, Trudeau wore a bulletproof vest for an election campaign rally after officials say they detected a security threat.

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