Ottawa shooting: Miramichi 'very proud' of Kevin Vickers
House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers called a hero by many MPs, receives standing ovation
House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, hailed as a hero by MPs for stopping an assailant who killed a Canadian Forces member on Wednesday, was honoured by Parliament Thursday.
Vickers, who headed up the procession into the House, was greeted with a roar of applause and a standing ovation that lasted more than three minutes.
It only ended when the Speaker finally called for order.
Vickers stood stoically at the back of the chamber as Prime Minister Stephen Harper thanked him.
"I'd be very remiss if I did not conclude in acknowledging specifically the work of security forces here on Parliament and the great work of our sergeant-at-arms," Harper said, before walking to Vickers to shake his hand.
But Vickers's bravery came as no surprise to people in his hometown of Miramichi, where his reputation looms large.
"It's Kevin being Kevin," said his older cousin, Keith Vickers.
"I could tell by his personality and growing up with him that he's a responsible guy," he said.
"Whenever we got into a little trouble, he always seemed to sense when the trouble was coming and he knew enough to get away."
On Wednesday, however, the sergeant-at-arms ran toward trouble.
Vickers said he was pulling into a Tim Hortons when he heard about the shooting in Ottawa and didn't know at first if his cousin had been injured.
Vickers said he went to another family member’s house on Wednesday and watched the breaking news on television. He said all of his family members were being inundated with emails, calls and text messages from friends who wanted to know how Kevin was doing.
Vickers was even being stopped on the side of the road by people he hadn’t seen in many years, who wanted him to know how proud they were of his cousin.
"All the boys here, the local guys they'd be quite proud to hear that he did what he did cause it's just one of those things that you can't believe on national and international TV, someone from this small area, that has done quite well on his own,” Vickers said.
“But even to go that extra step farther to be placed in a situation where you had to react and react the way he did."
I am very touched by the attention directed at me following yesterday’s events.- Kevin Vickers, House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms
Kevin Vickers issued a statement on Thursday afternoon, thanking Canadians for their support.
"I am very touched by the attention directed at me following yesterday’s events. However, I have the support of a remarkable security team that is committed to ensuring the safety of members, employees and visitors to the Hill," Vickers said in a statement.
"Yesterday, during extraordinary circumstances, security personnel demonstrated professionalism and courage. I am grateful and proud to be part of this team."
Vicker said he cannot comment any further on what happened inside Parliament on Wednesday because of the ongoing investigation.
Vickers: 'I put him down'
Vickers, 58, was reportedly in the House of Commons when a gunman entered sometime after 9:52 a.m.
Gunshots were heard inside the Hall of Honour, the main entrance to the Centre Block beneath the Peace Tower.
The Conservatives and NDP were holding their weekly caucus meetings not far from where the shooting took place.
After the assailant was shot, Vickers entered the Conservative caucus room, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was at the time of the shooting and explained what happened.
I could consider him one of my friends ... For that guy, the courage he has, is just unbelievable.- NDP MP Yvon Godin
Vickers told the room he engaged with the assailant.
"I put him down," the former RCMP officer said.
Acadie-Bathurst NDP Yvon Godin was about to speak at the NDP's caucus meeting when security officers ran into the room and ordered people to get down.
Godin praised all police and security officials, who kept everyone safe on Wednesday. He singled out Vickers for praise.
"I could consider him as one of my friends ... For that guy, the courage he has, is just unbelievable," Godin said on Thursday.
"Not only in Miramichi, but I think in New Brunswick and in Canada, everybody tips their hats off to Kevin today and we're very proud of him."
Cormier described Vickers as "a nice man, a gentle man."
The mayor watched Thursday as the flags outside city hall were lowered to half-mast — a small gesture from the city that raised Ottawa's hero.
"He doesn't like the accolades too much. He just likes to do his job," said Cormier.
Vickers grew up in Miramichi and spent 29 years with the RCMP.
Vickers became the sergeant-at-arms in the House of Commons eight years ago after a varied career in security that included protecting foreign dignitaries and members of the Royal Family.
Prior to his appointment in the House of Commons, Vickers worked as an aide-de-camp for New Brunswick's former lieutenant-governor, Marilyn Trenholme Counsell.
He is a recipient of the Queen's Jubilee medal, the Canada 125 medal and the RCMP Long Service medal.