Politics

CAF member arrested on Rideau Hall grounds faces 22 charges, including multiple firearm violations

The Canadian Armed Forces member who allegedly gained access to the grounds at Rideau Hall while carrying a firearm Thursday morning now faces a long list of charges.

The Crown is opposing Corey Hurren's release on bail

An RCMP officer stands by a damaged gate outside Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Thursday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Armed Forces member who allegedly gained access to the grounds at Rideau Hall while carrying a firearm Thursday morning now faces a long list of charges.

The RCMP said Corey Hurren, 46, faces 22 criminal charges, including careless use of a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm and uttering threats.

Hurren, an active member of the military who serves as a Canadian Ranger, allegedly drove his truck through the pedestrian gate at 1 Sussex Drive at around 6:30 a.m. ET Thursday morning, which stopped working on impact, said RCMP Deputy Commissioner Mike Duheme during a news conference Friday morning.

He then headed toward the ground's greenhouse on foot with what appeared to be a firearm, stopping to hide in a rose garden for three minutes around 6:35 a.m.

Duheme said officers spotted Hurren at 6:43 a.m. and began talking with him two minutes later.

"It was only at 6:53 where the suspect responded and a dialogue ensued," he said.

Watch: RCMP gives a timeline of Rideau Hall incident

RCMP Deputy Commissioner Mike Duheme recounts minute by minute the incident at Rideau Hall and how his officers responded. 1:01

Duheme said members kept speaking with him for more than 90 minutes before he was arrested without incident around 8:30 a.m. and taken into custody for questioning. 

Hurren had several weapons but Duheme wouldn't go into specifics. He said it appears Hurren was acting alone.

Hurren is accused of:

  • Four counts of careless use, storage and handling of a firearm; (Section 86(1) CC)
  • Four counts of contravention of transport regulation of a firearm; (Section 86(2) CC)
  • Four counts of possession of a weapon for dangerous purpose; (Section 88(1) CC)
  • One count of possession of a restricted firearm, knowing its possession is unauthorized; (Section 92(1) CC)
  • One count of possession of prohibited device, knowing its possession is unauthorized; (Section 92(2) CC)
  • One count of possession at unauthorized place (Section 93(1) CC)
  • Four counts of unauthorized possession in motor vehicle (Section 94(1) CC)
  • Two counts of possession of prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition (Section 95(1) CC)
  • One count of uttering threats (Section 264.1 CC)

Hurren appeared by teleconference link this afternoon for his bail hearing, which was put over to July 17. The Crown opposes his release.

The Ottawa branch of RCMP's integrated national security team is now leading the investigation.

Suspect had a note in truck: source

A source told CBC News on Thursday that the suspect had driven from Manitoba and had a long gun and a note with him.

The source — who spoke on the condition they not be named because they were not authorized to discuss the case — did not know the details of the note or what kind of long gun it was.

The RCMP did not answer questions about the note at this morning's briefing, citing the ongoing investigation.

When asked if police know Hurren's motivation, Duheme said "yes" but would not go into details. The RCMP did say Hurren wasn't known previously to police and was not on any watch lists.

Hurren ran a business called GrindHouse Fine Foods, which makes meat products. In a Facebook post he reported that the novel coronavirus pandemic had taken a toll on his business.

"I'm not sure what will be left of our economy, industries and businesses when this all ends," he wrote May 26.

A LinkedIn account belonging to Corey Hurren identifies him as a member of the Canadian Rangers, an organization within the Canadian Armed Forces reserve. (Corey Hurren/LinkedIn)

CBC News Manitoba also reported that roughly an hour before Hurren entered the Rideau Hall grounds, a Facebook page associated with his business posted a meme of a big outdoor party that supposedly would occur after the lockdown.

The post directs people to look up "Event 201" — a worldwide pandemic preparedness exercise run last year that conspiracy theorists now use to suggest Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is behind COVID-19.

CAF says there's 'no indication' weapon belongs to them

In promotional material for his business, Hurren is described as a Royal Canadian Artillery veteran who recently rejoined the military as a Canadian Ranger.

The Rangers are a component of the Canadian Army Reserve that serves in remote and coastal regions, typically offering help with national security and public safety operations.

(RCMP/CBC News)

Today, the Canadian Armed Forces said Hurren first joined CAF in April 1997 with the 10th Field Artillery Regiment in Regina, Sask. and was released as a corporal in October 2000 before re-enrolling in 2019 with the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group. Just recently he had been supporting the military's response to the COVID-19 crisis.

"He was not, however, part of any CAF military task at the time of his arrest; he travelled to Ottawa of his own accord without the knowledge of his chain of command," says the CAF statement.

"Furthermore, it is important to note that there is no indication at this time that the weapon in [Master Cpl.] Hurren's possession when he was arrested belonged to the CAF."

As for Hurren's status with the Rangers, a spokesperson said the Canadian Armed Forces will cooperate with the RCMP and follow the legal proceedings "so that the appropriate decision can be made at the appropriate time.

The CAF said it's reviewing Hurren's file but there were no issues that precluded his re-enrollment.

"At this early juncture, our focus is to support the investigative process and the members of 4 CRPG following this shocking incident," notes the statement.

Timeline questioned 

The RCMP — which has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks for controversial arrests of Indigenous people —defended the two hours it took to apprehend Hurren, arguing the responding officers had tactical cover and were trying to de-escalate the situation.

"Our intervention, regardless of who the person is, is always based on environment and the threat cues that are being used. It's got nothing to do with ethnicity," Duheme said.

"It's to do with the environment we're in, the threat that we have, the analysis that the officers make, the subject's behaviour and whatnot, the environment that's around us for tactical cover. There's multiple factors."

Security surrounding the grounds has since been increased, said Duheme, and the RCMP will conduct a review of security at Rideau Hall.

Trudeau addressed the arrest during his own news conference Friday morning.

"Obviously, this was something that nobody wants to hear, but I want to thank the extraordinary members of the police services and the RCMP, who did their job and nobody was hurt and nobody was injured," he said.

With files from Philip Ling, Kimberley Molina, Trevor Pritchard and Elizabeth Thompson

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