October 22, 2014

Ottawa today: what was the evidence for two shooters?

Horrible tragedy in Ottawa. All thoughts and prayers to the family of Cpl. Cirillo.

There was a lot of confusion in this case about multiple shooters, and often times that's just panic, but in this case this was perfectly understandable, with two shootings hundreds of metres away in under six minutes. First response to the Memorial shooting was recorded in multiple locations at 0952h. CBC's video of the supposed shooter getting into a plates-free car pointed east on the road immediately north of the memorial is almost exactly at 0952.

Globe reporter Josh Wingrove's first eyewitness tweet reporting shooting was at 0954h. The fusillade that killed the individual, according to Wingrove's subsequent tweets' timestamps, was likely at 0956h or earlier.

It would seem hard to just cross that distance in 2 minutes, let alone spark a fatal police response in 4. Assuming no errors in the time stamps, and the guy captured in the dashcam footage was the lone gunman here, that would mean the guy U-turned his vehicle around on Wellington Street's heavy traffic, jumping a raised median, before parking on the other side of the street 100m away from where he started, got out, having reloaded in there somewhere, got over or through the security bollards, and then, according to witnesses, hijacked another car to drive 250m across the grounds before getting out and bursting into Center Block through the front door. In 120 seconds.

In the absence of conflicting evidence, that's the kind of timeline that makes it hard to see why one couldnt conclusively rule out two shooters early in the day. It also really shows the lethality and effectiveness of the security response here. It really couldn't have been any faster to react.

The giveaway that it was only one shooter was likely the car the fellow gets into in the CBC video, which does look very much like this Toyota, which was identified as a shooter car in front of Parliament on Wellington within half an hour of the shooting. That car's location is right in front of the Parliament Hill vehicle gate, almost exactly 100m up the road from where the dashcam car was parked (note the white rectangle, rear window, top right), but facing in the other direction (west). One can assume police had access to better camera footage that allowed them to track the shooter's movements and ascertain it was in fact the same fellow.

It also no doubt helped wrap up the situation quickly that the shooter declared his intentions so obviously upon getting into Parliament. video of the takedown? That's the sound of one long gun, likely a shotgun, echoing, followed by a fusillade of pistol shots. You don't have to be a forensic specialist to identify that as the intruder opening fire on police and getting immediately cut down by multiple handguns. No demands, no negotiation, nothing. He must have started firing the moment he saw a uniform down the hall. The Hill police were lucky that first shot was essentially a miss, and that shotguns don't have much of a range advantage over pistols.

Posted by BruceR at 09:49 PM