OTTAWA- A man accused of ramming through a gate at Rideau Hall and heading toward Justin Trudeau’s home while heavily armed pleaded guilty to eight charges in court Friday.
Corey Hurren, a 46-year-old Manitoba military reservist and sausage-maker, had faced 21 weapons charges and one of threatening the prime minister.
However, he pleaded guilty to seven weapons charges related to possession of prohibited or restricted firearms “for a purpose contrary to the public peace” and one charge of mischief by wilfully causing $100,000 worth of damage to the Rideau Hall gate.
Hurren drove a truck onto the grounds of the Governor General’s official residence on July 2 last year and rammed through the gate, which caused the vehicle to stall and its airbags to deploy.
He then set out on foot toward Rideau Cottage, where Trudeau and his family are living due to unresolved questions about costly repairs needed at the prime minister’s traditional official residence at 24 Sussex Drive. Trudeau was not home at the time.
Police were able to talk Hurren down and arrested him peacefully after about 90 minutes.
He was initially accused of uttering a threat to “cause death or bodily harm” to Trudeau.
But in an agreed statement of facts read in an Ottawa courtroom, Hurren told police he didn’t intend to hurt anyone, and that he wanted to arrest Trudeau to make a statement about the federal government’s COVID-19 restrictions and its ban on assault-style firearms.
He had hoped to make the arrest during Trudeau’s daily pandemic briefing outside Rideau Cottage.
Hurren, who told police he hadn’t qualified for emergency aid benefits, was angry about losing his business and his guns. He believed Canada was turning into a communist state.
At no point did Hurren tell police he wanted to kill Trudeau, according to the statement. He also told police he didn’t want to hurt them and did not point a weapon at them as officers tried to de-escalate the incident.
While police were talking Hurren down, they received a complaint from one of his friends, who reported that Hurren had sent him “a disturbing text message containing a picture of a suicide note.”
“In this note, Hurren stated he could not cope with the restrictions of COVID-19, the financial loss sustained due to the closure of his business and the recent firearm ban and felt that Canada was now under a communist dictatorship,” according to the statement.
“Hurren hoped his actions would be a ‘wake-up call and a turning point.”’
He told police at the scene that he wanted to show Trudeau “how angry everyone was about the gun ban and the COVID-19 restrictions”
and said the prime minister “is a communist who is above the law and corrupt.”
He felt “betrayed by his government (he) has nothing left.”
During a police interview after his arrest, Hurren said “he’s not a bad guy for doing this and he did not want to hurt anyone.”
He was concerned about being compared to Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the shooter who stormed Parliament Hill in 2014, and didn’t want the RCMP to “think that he’s a terrorist.”
Asked what his plan was, he replied: “I don’t think there was one.”
Asked if he had any regrets, Hurren, who’d spent two days driving from Manitoba to Ottawa, said he wished he’d stopped to see the Terry Fox statue near Parliament Hill.
Hurren, who described himself as Metis, also stated during the interview that people who are “the right colour” are allowed to keep their banned firearms.
Data retrieved from his cellphone, Facebook and Instagram posts included exchanges with friends about “conspiracy theories related to the Canadian government,” as well as a “sacrifice theory” related to the date of the mass shooting in Nova Scotia last April and suggestions that COVID-19 is a hoax.
Police seized five firearms from Hurren at Rideau Hall: a restricted Hi-Standard revolver, a prohibited International Arms break-open pistol, a prohibited Norinco S12 rifle, a Lakefield Mossberg shotgun, a Grizzly Arms shotgun and a prohibited high-capacity magazine.
Eleven more long guns were seized from his Manitoba residence.
Hurren admitted in the statement of facts that he did not have a licence for many of his firearms.
Hurren is to be sentenced on Feb. 23.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2021.