A Canadian man previously held on suspicion of terrorist ties was killed in a taxicab in Ontario while on his way to detonate an explosive in a public place, police said Thursday.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commander Jennifer Strachan told reporters that Aaron Driver, 24, set off the device in the taxicab Wednesday while surrounded by police. The confrontation took place in the southern Ontario town of Strathroy.
It is unclear whether the explosion or a police bullet killed Driver. The taxi driver suffered minor injuries in the blast.
Strachan said Driver had uploaded a so-called martyrdom video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group and vowing to commit acts of violence against what he called «enemies of Islam.» He also had spoken openly on national media about his support for the Islamic militants, saying if a country supported the fight against the militants, its citizens who fell victim to terrorist attacks deserved their fate.
Driver was arrested in June 2015 because of concerns that he posed a threat to public safety. He was released under court supervision. In February 2016, Driver’s lawyer agreed to a deal known as a peace bond, acknowledging that the government had «reasonable grounds» to think Driver might participate «directly or indirectly» in terrorist activity.
The peace bond barred him from associating with terrorist groups or even using a computer or cellphone. Until earlier this month, he had been compelled to wear a bracelet with a GPS tracking device. The peace bond was scheduled to expire at the end of August.
Transit agencies in Toronto said they had gotten warnings from police of a security threat before the suspect was confronted. A spokesman for Toronto Transit said the warning was a «vigilance notice» that contained little detail about what to expect.
Canadian officials said they were tipped off to Driver’s planned attack by members of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Driver’s estranged father, Wayne Driver, told Canadian media he was satisfied that police «did what they had to do» after his son refused to surrender. The ex-soldier called his son «a good kid who went down a dark path and couldn’t find the light again.»
Canada experienced two «lone wolf» attacks in 2014 that sparked Driver’s comments of support for Islamic State. On October 20, a 25-year-old Muslim convert ran down two members of the military in a Quebec parking lot, killing one, before police shot the attacker to death.
Two days later, a 32-year-old Muslim convert killed a guard at the headquarters of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, just a short distance from a room where top officials, including the prime minister, were meeting. Security guards fatally shot him.