Edmonton Police Service said it is working with “national security partners,” in the investigation of a man accused of a shooting and firebombing that caused the evacuation of Edmonton’s city hall on Tuesday morning.
A sprawling video manifesto, apparently recorded by 28-year-old Bezhani Sarvar, circulated on social media in the hours after EPS identified the suspect and published the six charges against him.
“EPS is aware of a video circulating that may be related to this incident. Investigators are reviewing this video,” the news release stated.
An alleged video of the Edmonton City Hall shooter has surfaced, where he explains the motivation for his “mission” pic.twitter.com/2s7z9ZOWfl— YEGWAVE (@yegwave) January 24, 2024
“Our officers are working closely with our national security partners on this investigation,” Chief Dale McFee said via the release.
EPS said the RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams, a national security division – with tentacles in counterterrorism, counter-foreign interference, and counter-espionage – which formed in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks on the United States, is investigating.
Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, a national not-for-profit security firm, contracted to provide security at Edmonton’s city hall, confirmed in a media release that Sarvar worked for them.
“He had been employed by Commissionaires since 2019 and was assigned to a variety of locations within the Edmonton area but was never assigned to the security detail at City Hall,” the release stated.
The unarmed Commissionaires employee who detained Sarvar, the release said, has been working for the company since February 2023, and is a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, with seven years of service as an infantry soldier.
Sarvar faces six charges, including reckless discharge of firearm into place, use/throw explosive substance, arson to property, possess incendiary material, use of firearm while committing offence, and careless use of firearm. A seventh charge of knowingly possess unauthorized firearm first communicated by police is planned to be dropped, police said.
Police believe Sarvar entered the parkade before 10:18 a.m. on Tuesday, January 23. Police say he parked, and proceeded to enter the building from parkade access. Once inside, police say he lit several “handheld incendiary devices, believed to be Molotov cocktails.”
Police said Sarvar threw one of these firebombs from the second floor of the atrium to the first floor below, causing a fire outside an elevator.
Using a long gun that Chief McFee described in Tuesday’s briefing as capable of firing, “multiple rounds quickly,” police said Sarvar proceeded to shoot several rounds, “into the ceiling, walls and windows.” No one was struck by the shots.
Shortly after the on-duty Commissionaire guard described above detained Sarvar and the police arrived minutes later.
“EPS and RCMP Tactical teams then worked for several hours to secure and clear the building of any further threats, escorting out citizens who had been sheltering in place in various locations,” EPS said.
Police said Sarvar’s bail hearing is Thursday, January 25.
Below: A still image from a video originally posted to YouTube, apparently of Bezhani Sarvar, discussing his “mission,” supplied to and published by Global News Edmonton.