The gunman who killed a soldier in Ottawa and then raced through Canada's parliament before being shot dead was a misfit and perhaps mentally ill, according to police, friends and family, while his troubled and transient past included robbery and drug offenses.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, a Canadian citizen and convert to Islam, was identified by police on Thursday as the attacker in the incident that rocked Canada.
"(He) was lost and did not fit in. I, his mother, spoke with him last week over lunch, I had not seen him for over five years before that," a woman who identified herself as Zehaf-Bibeau's mother said in a statement provided to the Associated Press.
Police said Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed a soldier stationed at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Wednesday before running into the nearby parliament buildings, where he was shot and killed by guards in a flurry of gunfire.
"He is an interesting individual in the sense he had a very developed criminality ... a non-national-security related criminality of violence and of drugs and of mental instability," Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson told a news conference on Thursday.
He said Zehaf-Bibeau had applied for a passport to travel and wanted to go to Syria, but the passport application was delayed, which likely helped motivate the attack.
"I think the passport figured prominently in his motives and his - you know I'm not inside his head - but I think it was central to what was driving him," Paulson said.
Paulson also said emails suggested he had associations with people who had shared his radical views.
U.S. officials said they had been advised that Zehaf-Bibeau was a convert to Islam. His father was a Canadian citizen of Libyan descent and Paulson said Zehaf-Bibeau may have been a dual citizen of Canada and Libya.
A friend who lived with Zehaf-Bibeau at a Vancouver homeless shelter said Zehaf-Bibeau had tried unsuccessfully to get off drugs.