Officials in Strathroy did little more than reassure residents that there is no longer a threat to their safety in a news conference just two days after a suspected terror threat that looked to be carried out in London.
RCMP Superintendent Jamie Jagoe would not offer any new details about the investigation into 24-year-old Aaron Driver, killed in a police encounter on Wednesday afternoon.
“He was living with family members in this community, and an application was made before the courts in order to have less restrictions on this individual due to the fact that he was living quietly in this community, he was working in this community, and to the best of our knowledge, he was living a nice, quiet, normal life in the town of Strathroy.”
Driver was ordered to comply with a number of conditions of a peace bond after being arrested in Winnipeg last summer, including wearing a GPS tracking device — a condition that was later lifted.
Driver was also on the Strathroy-Caradoc Police Service’s radar as well.
Chief Laurie Hayman said they were made aware that Driver was living in Strathroy when he moved there last year.
Hayman didn’t have a timeline for the RCMP investigation, or how long it would be until evacuated residents on Park St. could move back in.
“Every resident that we evacuated that we could get a phone number from, that phone number has been obtained and logged, and our communicators were attempting to contact every person that we had a phone number for that was evacuated,” she said. “When we get information as to when they can return to their homes, we will let them know.”
The encounter on Wednesday afternoon rattled residents that lived in an otherwise quiet community.
Superintendent Jagoe said for those wondering why the public wasn’t made aware that a suspected terrorist was living in their backyard, it’s because there was no reason to.
“There were no reports of any suspicious behaviour on his part, or any involvement in criminality within this community,” said Jagoe. “There is nothing in legislation that would allow us to issue a public warning. He had every right to live in this community, and by all accounts he lived in this community and led a quiet lifestyle.”
Jagoe added that they averted a tragedy, but it was also tragic that Driver had to be killed.
“He has a family, people that love him, care for him. We did not want that outcome. We wanted a peaceful outcome. We wanted to apprehend the individual, and unfortunately the events didn’t allow for that to happen.”
Strathroy-Caradoc Mayor Joanne Vanderheyden also thanked the public for respecting the police investigation and said that residents should have confidence in the safety of the community.