Cousin of dead soldier demands government 'wake up' to terror threat
Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, a member of the Joint Personnel Support Unit, Integrated Personnel Support Centre St-Jean, is pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of the Canadian Forces. (REUTERS/Canadian Forces/Handout)
MONTREAL — The cousin of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, 53, killed by a terrorist near Montreal on Monday, accuses Canadian authorities of failing to take the jihadist threat seriously.
In an interview with QMI Agency, ex-soldier Sylvain Guerette also revealed Vincent was only a few months from retirement when the homegrown jihadist intentionally struck him with a car.
The grieving cousin called on law enforcement to "wake up" and protect Canadians from terrorists.
Vincent's killer, Martin "Ahmad" Couture-Rouleau, 25, was on a terror watchlist but hadn't been arrested due to lack of evidence.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, another jihadist who shot and killed a soldier at Ottawa's National War Memorial on Wednesday and then stormed Parliament's Centre Block, wasn't on the watchlist despite intelligence he was in contact with other Islamic extremists.
"How many will they take with them before we do something?" said Guerette, who served his country for 34 years.
"I get the impression that we didn't take this seriously enough. It isn't true anymore that these things only happen 'over there.'"
Guerette said he was stunned that such attacks could happen one after the other.
"That's two in three days that passed through our fingers," Guerette said.
A Canadian jihadist believed to be based in Syria expressed support for the attacks on Twitter and said Canadians shouldn't be surprised.
"What did Canada Expect? they are a nation at war with Islam&is about to kill/bomb more Muslims. What did you want in return, Hugs and Kisses?" ISIS supporter Ahmad Waseem tweeted Thursday.
His tweet was "favourited" 28 times.
Waseem, who is believed to have spent time in Windsor, Ont., congratulated Couture-Rouleau and rejoiced when he heard about Zehaf-Bibeau's shooting rampage.
"Another shooting in Canada...This time inside the Parliament building...and they wanted to bomb Iraq and Syriaa...lollll," he wrote.
Waseem went back to Canada last year in order to heal a wound he suffered fighting overseas. His relatives tried to convince him to stay, but he was able to leave without authorities catching him.
Guerette said he's ready to return to duty to help authorities conduct surveillance of people deemed a security threat.
"We need to come up with ideas and solutions."
He describes Vincent as a generous man who was always ready to help others.
Vincent was accompanying another soldier to a veterans office next to the recruitment centre in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., when Couture-Rouleau, a recent convert to Islam, ran them both down and led officers on a chase that ended when police shot and killed the terrorist.
Vincent had spent most of his career as a military firefighter, travelling from one end of Canada to the other.
He settled in Montreal after undergoing open-heart surgery and was planning the next chapter in his life.
"He was in the process of a medical discharge, he couldn't work as a firefighter anymore because of his heart," Guerette said.
— with files from Jean-Nicolas Blanchet