January 8, 2015 / 4:19 PM / in 4 years

Hero of gunfight in Canada's parliament to become envoy to Ireland

Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers is applauded in the House of Commons in Ottawa October 23, 2014. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Kevin Vickers, the head of security who helped kill a gunman who stormed Canada’s parliament last year, will be appointed ambassador to Ireland, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday.

Vickers, the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, was in his office on Oct. 22 when Michael Zehaf-Bibeau stormed into the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa with a rifle. Vickers ran out into the hall with his pistol and exchanged shots with the gunman, who was also being fired on by police.

Although investigators have yet to announce who fired the shot that killed Zehaf-Bibeau, Vickers is widely credited with having played a crucial role in taking down the attacker.

The day after the attack, lawmakers greeted Vickers with a prolonged standing ovation, cheers and whistles when he resumed his duties in the House of Commons.

“Mr. Vickers was hailed as a hero by the Prime Minister, other Canadians and international leaders for his actions in stopping the terrorist attack of October 2014,” Harper’s office said in a statement.

Vickers, a former police officer, will replace former federal cabinet minister Loyola Hearn, whom Harper appointed as envoy to Dublin in 2010.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Galloway

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