Terror suspect dead in Ontario: source
OTTAWA — Terrorism suspect Aaron Driver was killed in a confrontation with police in the southern Ontario town of Strathroy, The Canadian Press has learned.
Driver, originally from Winnipeg and in his mid-20s, was under a court order not to associate with any terrorist organization, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The RCMP said it received credible information of a potential terrorist threat earlier in the day.
A suspect was identified and the “proper course of action has been taken” to ensure that there was no danger to the public, the carefully worded statement said.
In February, Driver’s lawyer and the Crown agreed to a peace bond stating there are “reasonable grounds to fear that he may participate, contribute directly or indirectly in the activity of a terrorist group.”
Police and government officials were tight-lipped about the violent events that unfolded in the small town near London, Ont.
However, a source with knowledge of the police takedown spoke to The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
Without providing details, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Wednesday night he had spoken to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “to confirm that public safety has been and continues to be properly protected.”
The RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and other police and security agencies were involved in the operation, he added.
“These agencies conducted themselves effectively in the circumstances that developed today.”
Taking all relevant information into account, the national terrorism threat level for Canada remains at “medium” where it has stood since the fall of 2014, Goodale added.
The RCMP said because the matter was still unfolding and the investigation remained underway, there would be no further comment.
The Mounties planned to hold a news conference Thursday to provide details.
Winnipeg-based lawyer Leonard Tailleur, who had handled Driver’s peace bond, said he was “shocked” to hear what had happened.
“Saddened to hear that it had to end this way for him,” Tailleur said in an email to The Canadian Press.
Tailleur had not been in contact with Driver since February when “the matter had been resolved to the satisfaction of the Department of Justice, the RCMP and myself.”
In Strathroy, resident Irene Lee said late Wednesday that since about 4:15 p.m., police had been camped outside the home where Driver lived.
At about that time, she said she was at her own home close by when she heard a loud noise. She said shortly afterward, a police officer came by to tell residents to stay inside their homes.
Lee said there were up to 25 marked and unmarked cruisers outside Driver’s Park Street residence all Wednesday evening. She said Driver regularly goes to her parents’ nearby convenience store to buy energy drinks.
Police were still on the scene early Thursday and said they would remain through the night. A perimeter had been set up and a portion of the street leading to the house in the residential neighbourhood where Driver was killed was closed to traffic.
Some residents were milling about on the streets well after midnight seeking information from police and to express their gratitude.
Ottawa was abuzz with rumours for much of Wednesday after a memo was circulated among National Defence personnel warning of a terrorist threat.
— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter
— With files from Daniela Germano and Paola Lorrigio.
By By Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press