April 21st, 2024

Edmonton City Hall attack ‘politically motivated,’ supporting terror charges: RCMP

By The Canadian Press on March 5, 2024.

EDMONTON – Mounties say they believe an attack on Edmonton City Hall in January was politically motivated, meaning it reaches the legal threshold for terrorism charges.

Supt. Glenn Sells of the RCMP’s national security team says officers seized an SKS assault-style rifle, three prohibited rifle magazines, about 150 rounds of ammunition and four gasoline-filled Molotov cocktails from the scene.

Sells says this highlights the risk to the public and the amount of damage that could have been done that day.

Police have said a heavily armed man entered city hall on Jan. 23 through an underground parkade, fired a gun and lit several small incendiary devices, which caused a small fire outside an elevator.

No one was hurt, but the bullets shattered glass and punctured ceilings and walls.

Sells says as details of the attack began to emerge, it appeared to fall within the national security mandate of the RCMP.

On Monday, RCMP announced Bezhani Sarvar, 28, had been charged with counselling commission of a terrorism offence and possession of property for terrorist purposes.

The Integrated National Security Enforcement Team said those charges are in conjunction with nine others that constitute terrorism offences, including intentionally possessing incendiary material while committing an indictable offence.

Sarvar is also charged with two counts of possessing a prohibited device, mischief, carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a weapon for the purpose of committing an offence.

Police have said the suspect surrendered to a city hall security commissionaire, who detained him until police arrived.

The building was full of people during the shooting, including a class of Grade 1 students. City police and RCMP tactical teams spent several hours securing and clearing the building, escorting out citizens who had been sheltering in various locations.

Police have said they were reviewing a video posted by a man wearing a commissionaire’s jacket. In the video, the man delivers a rambling manifesto, decrying everything from so-called “wokeism” to the fighting in Gaza to unhealthy diets.

Sells said that once Mounties were brought onto the case, they did a thorough analysis of the evidence collected, executed more search warrants, interviewed witnesses and analyzed electronic evidence.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 5, 2024.

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