Canadian parliamentarian sergeant-at-arms hailed as a hero

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from CNN,

Kevin Vickers led the procession solemnly, silently. Yet there was noise all around him — and all for him.

One day earlier, Vickers — the sergeant-at-arms of Canada’s House of Commons — was credited with gunning down an armed man who’d stormed in minutes after killing a Canadian soldier standing guard at a nearby veterans memorial.

Parliamentarians responded Thursday by saluting Vickers with a spirited standing ovation as he walked, in front of the line, as part of his ceremonial duties to usher the start of a new session. Their fervent applause was interrupted only by occasional cheers and pounding of benches.

Yet Vickers, carrying a ceremonial sword and dressed in traditional attire, nodded gently to acknowledge the ovation but didn’t address the crowd. The only time he spoke, and the only hint of a smile, came when Prime Minister Stephen Harper walked back to the sergeant-at-arms seat in the back of the hall — at which point the two shook hands and Vickers whispered a few words in Harper’s ear.

The sergeant-at-arms did offer remarks — his first since the shootings — later in a written statement. He said he was “very touched” by the attention over his role in ending the attack, while adding that he has “the support of a remarkable security team that is committed to ensuring the safety of Members, employees and visitors” to Parliament.

“Yesterday, during extraordinary circumstances, security personnel demonstrated professionalism and courage. I am grateful and proud to be part of this team,” he said.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson said Thursday that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau traded gunshots with an officer before heading down a hall towards Parliament, where Vickers and others engaged him.

“I understood that the suspect and Mr. Vickers were behind pillars and exchanging fire,” Paulson said. “The suspect repositioned himself to get a better shot at Mr. Vickers … We heard (a) multitude of shots, and that Mr. Vickers did shoot.”

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