Parliament Hill security personnel honoured for Oct. 22 bravery

Members of the RCMP and the Parliamentary Protective Service were honoured by Gov. Gen. David Johnston today for their response during the Parliament Hill shooting Oct. 22, 2014. The 16 personnel, including former sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers, were awarded medals for bravery.

16 RCMP and Hill security guards reminded us human beings 'are capable of the best,' Johnston says

16 members of the RCMP and Parliamentary Protective Service were honoured with medals of bravery from Governor General David Johnston at Rideau Hall. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The men and women who protected Parliament Hill against the violent incursion of gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on Oct. 22, 2014 were honoured by the Governor General at Rideau Hall today.

Sixteen security personnel, a mix of uniformed officers from the RCMP and guards from the Parliamentary Protective Service, received medals for bravery from Gov. Gen. David Johnston nearly 18 months after the attack, in which Zehaf-Bibeau fired several shots inside Parliament's Centre Block before he was killed.

Some of those honoured — RCMP Const. Curtis Barrett, Cpl. Dany Daigle, Const. Martin Fraser, Sgt. Richard Rozon, Const. Louis Létourneau, Const. Samearn Son and former sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers — received the Star of Courage, which "recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril."

The other security personnel received the Medal of Bravery — RCMP Const. Michelle Bergeron, Const. Gary Bubelis, Const. Somoza Célestin, Cpl. Maxim Malo, Const. Sylvie Marcoux, Const. Michel Palmer, Const. Patrick Ruest and Const. Charles Thom  — which recognizes "acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances."

A somber Gov. Gen. David Johnston thanked the security officials for stepping up in the midst of a chaotic situation, protecting the "hallowed halls" of our democracy only minutes after Cpl. Nathan Cirllio's murder at the War Memorial.

"It was said that Ottawa came to a standstill on Oct. 22 and it's true. People kept off the streets, businesses closed their doors, schools went into lockdown," the Governor General said.

"But not everyone came to a standstill. You didn't come to a standstill, in fact you did just the opposite. You ran toward the danger and you helped people in need," he said.

Johnston acknowledged that some of the officers might be uncomfortable with being celebrated for "just doing their job," but he urged them to accept the gratitude of their fellow Canadians.

"This ceremony isn't about creating heroes or glorifying our security services or exaggerating your achievements on that day ... No one of you asked to be decorated with stars of courage or medals of bravery. Indeed, being good Canadians, it probably makes you more than a little uncomfortable.

"Well, why then are we here? We're here because on a day of great tragedy and suffering you gave us something different. You reminded us that while human beings are indeed capable of doing the worst to each other, we're also capable of the best," Johnston said.

Below is the description of the day's events — and the role each person played — as supplied by Rideau Hall in the citation accompanying the medals. The RCMP's timeline of events has previously been challenged.

"​On Oct. 22, 2014, members of the House of Commons protection services and the RCMP were instrumental in stopping an armed man who had stormed the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ont.

"Const. Son was stationed at the front entrance when he spotted the man entering with a concealed rifle. The constable lunged to gain control of the firearm, but it discharged and struck him in the leg.

Const. Samearn Son, S.C. poses with Gov. Gen. David Johnston at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Ont., where security personnel were honoured for their role during the Oct. 22 shooting. (CBC)

"Drawn to the Rotunda by the noise, Corp. Malo and Const. Thom took cover and exchanged several rounds with the gunman after he entered the building.

Const. Charles Thom, M.B., left, poses with Gov. Gen. David Johnston. (CBC)

"Const. Létourneau tracked the gunman down the Hall of Honour toward the Library of Parliament and fired at him several times.

Const. Louis Létourneau, S.C. poses with Gov. Gen. David Johnston. (CBC)

"RCMP Sgt. Rozon, Corp. Daigle and constables Barrett, Bergeron, Bubelis, Célestin, Fraser, Marcoux, Palmer, Ruest and Waye, who had assembled outside the Peace Tower, entered the Centre Block.

"Supported by their colleagues, Sgt. Rozon, Corp. Daigle and constables Barrett and Fraser assumed a tactical formation (IARD) as they charged down the Hall of Honour.

RCMP Sgt. Richard Rozon, S.C., left, poses with Gov. Gen. David Johnston. (CBC)

"With the shooter now cornered in an alcove leading to the Library, Sgt.-at-Arms Vickers, after being advised of the shooter's location, dove to the floor in front of him and fired his weapon.

Former sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers, S.C. poses with Gov. Gen. David Johnston. (CBC)

"RCMP Const. Barrett walked directly toward the gunman while also firing his weapon.

"The collective actions of these 16 individuals brought the incident to an end in less than three minutes, and avoided further tragedy."