Corporal Nathan Cirillo, 24, was given a hero’s send-off on Friday, two days after he was shot and killed in Ottawa, Canada, while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial. Cirillo’s procession included a highway motorcade with bagpipe players and drew in around 1,000 attendees.
On-lookers applauded as members of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Cirillo’s regiment, marched before the motorcade along the Highway of Heroes toward Cirillo’s hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, 320 miles to the west.
"The Canadian Armed Forces remain undeterred in paying tribute to this nation's fallen, including Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent, and continue, resolutely, to show dignity and respect for all that the National War Monument symbolizes," said Rob Nicholson, Canada’s Minister of National Defense, earlier this week.
The procession left Ottawa around 2 p.m. on Friday and will arrive around 6 p.m. in Cirillo’s hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. The funeral is scheduled for 12 p.m. on Tuesday at Christ’s Church Cathedral on James Street, though two visitation periods are scheduled for this Sunday and Monday.
Cirillo was gunned down earlier this week by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who then stole an automobile and drove to Parliament Hill’s Centre Block, the location of the city’s government offices.
Zehaf-Bibeau was ultimately shot and killed by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers. Police don’t believe the shooter was a high-risk traveler, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson described Zehaf-Bibeau as a petty criminal who possibly held dual citizenship in Libya.
"[Zehaf-Bibeau] was an individual who may have held extremist beliefs," Paulson added.
Cirillo’s friends and family described him as “the type of guy that would go out of his way to make someone smile if they were having a bad day.”