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Man facing 6 charges after shots fired, Molotov cocktail thrown inside Edmonton city hall

Police have charged 28-year-old Bezhani Sarvar after a man fired a long gun inside Edmonton's city hall on Tuesday, forcing the building into a lockdown.

Bezhani Sarvar, 28, scheduled for bail hearing Thursday

Yellow police tape outside a building topped with a glass pyramid.

Charges have been laid against a 28-year-old man accused of firing a long gun inside Edmonton's city hall, forcing the building into a lockdown Tuesday.

Shots were fired and a Molotov cocktail was thrown from the second floor of the atrium before a man was detained by an unarmed security guard.

Bezhani Sarvar is facing six charges in connection with the shooting, according to court documents obtained by CBC News Wednesday.

The charges include arson, possession of incendiary material, careless use of a firearm, use of firearm while committing an offence and throwing explosives with the intent to cause harm. Police had originally said that Sarvar faced seven charges, but later said one firearm-related charge will be dropped.

Sarvar is scheduled for a bail hearing Thursday.

Edmonton police continue to investigate the motive for the attack. Investigators believe Sarvar acted alone.

In a news release Wednesday, the Edmonton Police Service said the man parked his vehicle in the city hall underground parkade at 10:18 a.m., then entered the building from the parkade access.

"Once inside city hall, he lit several handheld incendiary devices, believed to be Molotov cocktails, that caused one small fire outside an elevator," police said.

"He then fired several rounds from a long gun into the ceiling, walls and windows."

The man then dropped the long gun onto the floor and surrendered to a city hall security commissionaire who detained him until police arrived moments later, police said in the release.

Accused worked for Commissionaires

Sarvar worked for the Corps of Commissionaires, the company said in a news release Wednesday.

"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 news release said.

"Given the nature of this incident and the ongoing police investigation, we are not able to provide any further comment on this individual."

During a news conference Tuesday, police Chief Dale McFee described the shooter as "heavily armed."

City hall remained closed to staff and the public on Wednesday.

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said security protocols at city hall will be re-examined in the wake of the shooting.

Before the building re-opens, safety measures will be reviewed, Sohi said in an interview Wednesday. He said city administration will seek the advice of outside security experts during that assessment.

City hall is a public space and a place of work for many and it must be secure, Sohi said.

"We will do the assessment once things settle a bit," he said.

"I'm pretty sure there will be need for some security measures because we want to make sure that it's a safe place for everyone to work."

The investigation is continuing, police said Wednesday.

Sohi said that after police have left the building, staff from the city's corporate security and facilities management teams will determine what repairs are needed.

Sohi described the incident as traumatic.

"Everyone is shaken," he said. "And I want everyone to know that we are feeling their trauma, we are feeling their concerns.

"And when city hall opens back, we will try to bring it back to as normal as it can be after this very disturbing and traumatic event."

WATCH | Police sweep city hall after shots fired:

Shots fired, Molotov cocktail thrown inside Edmonton city hall

20 hours ago

Duration 1:47

An armed suspect opened fire at Edmonton city hall Tuesday afternoon and threw a Molotov cocktail. No one was injured and the suspect was arrested.

Dan Jones, chair of justice studies at NorQuest College, spent three years as a correctional officer and 22 years as a police officer.

He said Tuesday's events could have been catastrophic and should prompt the city to put its security protocols under increased scrutiny.

He said maintaining security in a public place, like city hall, is a balancing act.

"I don't think we want to end up being a place where we have all these security check stops," he said.

Edmonton AM5:31Edmonton's mayor speaks about the shooting inside city hall

Police are investigating what caused a man to fire shots and throw a Molotov cocktail inside city hall. The sound of gunshots interrupted a public committee meeting being held around 10:30 a.m. yesterday. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi was in that meeting alongside councillors, staff and reporters.

"But at the same time you don't want to leave people in a way that they're unsafe or unprotected.

"It's that continuous battle between freedom of movement and security."

In a statement, Nick Grimshaw, CEO of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, northern Alberta division, thanked the security officer.

"Our member went above and beyond his normal duties as a commissionaire," Grimshaw said.

"We are very proud of him and thank him for taking such bold and brave action to protect the public at city hall."

Grimshaw said the man, a former Canadian infantry soldier, has been employed with the northern Alberta division since February 2023.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wallis Snowdon

Reporter

Wallis Snowdon is a journalist with CBC Edmonton focused on bringing stories to the website and the airwaves. Originally from New Brunswick, Wallis has reported in communities across Canada, from Halifax to Fort McMurray. She previously worked as a digital and current affairs producer with CBC Radio in Edmonton. Share your stories with Wallis at wallis.snowdon@cbc.ca.

    With files from Paige Parsons

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    Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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