A member of the Canadian Armed Forces is in custody, sources say, after someone rammed a truck through the gates of Rideau Hall and drove up the path toward the official residences that house Gov. Gen. Julie Payette and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before being stopped by police.
The RCMP has not identified the man, who was arrested shortly after a vehicle broke through the gates around 6:40 a.m. local time Thursday.
A police robot was later called in to search the black pickup truck.
Two sources in government who were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly have said he is an active member of the military.
The man was armed at the time, according to the Mounties. He was arrested “without any incident” and was subsequently being interviewed, the force said in a tweet. The RCMP did not provide a motive, but did say that neither Payette nor Trudeau were present at the time.
Charges have not been laid.
The iconic Rideau Hall has long served as the home to Canada’s governors general.
Trudeau and his family have also lived in Rideau Cottage, which is located on the grounds of Rideau Hall, since he was elected prime minister. The government is still working on whether to renovate 24 Sussex Dr., where past prime ministers have lived.
The military was expected to release a statement on Thursday afternoon.
The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General issued a statement Thursday to thank the RCMP and police for resolving the situation quickly.
“All of our staff are safe,” said the statement.
The statement also noted that Payette has only occasionally been at Rideau Hall during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Given the number of staff required to support Her Excellency when she is on the grounds of Rideau Hall, during the pandemic she has chosen to prioritize the health and safety of the employees of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General by only being there when Constitutional duties require, such as Royal Assent,” the statement said.
“Prior to the pandemic, the Governor General was living on the grounds of Rideau Hall.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2020.
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