On Corey Hurren’s first-ever visit to Ottawa, the soldier visited the Canadian War Museum but was frustrated to find it closed due to COVID-19. Instead, he visited war memorials to Canadians who sacrificed themselves before having dinner at The Keg, “which was going to be my final meal.”
He had his own “sacrifice” in mind.
He parked outside the French embassy and slept in his pickup truck, which was on the verge of being repossessed. Shortly after dawn, he checked his guns — “the only real inheritance” from his father — and crashed his truck through the security gates of Rideau Hall, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lived.
“I figured as soon as I got on the property, I would get shot down,” Hurren, 46, said in an interview with a psychiatrist hired to assess his mental state after his attack last July.
His death was to be his message of discontent with the government’s response to COVID and gun control, he said.
“There was no Plan B.”
Hurren wasn’t shot. In fact, he drove into the park-like grounds until his truck died. Along with five loaded guns, he had spray paint with him. His first thought was to paint “Event 201” on the side of his truck, he said.
That speaks to his preoccupation. Shortly before his attack, he posted about Event 201 on social media. It is the name of a genuine pandemic simulation that has been twisted into a tenet of COVID conspiracy as proof the pandemic was planned by global elites.
Armed soldier who crashed through Trudeau's gate was 'prepared to die,' court told
Military reservist who rammed Rideau Hall gates pleads guilty to eight weapons charges
Hurren said the conspiracy theory “indirectly aggravated” his urge to attack. It showed COVID was preventable, he said, which means all the misery it unleashed in his life didn’t have to happen.
The 13-page psychiatric report, obtained by National Post, presents a detailed first-person account of storming the Rideau Hall grounds, and why.
After breaching the gate, Hurren took some of his guns and walked without a plan. He said he might have interrupted a media conference if Trudeau was giving one. It turned out Trudeau wasn’t even home.
When confronted by a police officer, Hurren didn’t point his gun at him. Neither did he toss his guns over, as he was ordered to.
“I didn’t want to put my guns down because if I put them down they would stop listening and I would be arrested,” Hurren told the doctor.
“They didn’t let me talk to anyone higher up,” Hurren said of the RCMP officers in the standoff. “I just wanted to get through to someone what was going on. I was afraid for the future of my children and what was going to be. The RCMP officer said I needed to be around for my kids.”
When he spoke about the interaction, Hurren wept, the doctor wrote.
Hurren had expected to die, but after about 90 minutes he surrendered without any shooting.
He left a two-page hand-written note behind in his truck, a copy of which was also obtained by the Post. In it he leaves contact information for his wife and his commanding officer in the military.
“My apologies to family, friends and the Canadian military for the trouble this has and will cause. I just didn’t see any other options that I could live with.”
The timing of the attack — July 2, the day after Canada Day — didn’t seem to have symbolic meaning. He said he just had to act before his truck was repossessed due to his inability make payments.
“Every time I heard a vehicle by the house, I wondered if they were coming to take the truck,” he wrote in his note.
He felt he was under “house arrest” for months because of the pandemic and believed it would continue for more than a year longer, because the Event 201 simulation had an 18-month timeframe.
“With the firearms ban and seeing more of our rights being taken away, on top of bankrupting the country, I could no longer sit back and watch this happen. I hope this is a wakeup call and a turning point,” he wrote in his note.
“Canadians have sacrificed themselves to keep this country free.”
He seemed to equate his expected death as a similar patriotic act.
Michael Davies, Hurren’s lawyer, retained Dr. Jonathan Gray, clinical director of Brockville Forensic Treatment Unit, to conduct the psychiatric assessment of Hurren for court purposes.
Gray interviewed Hurren twice, once in person and once electronically. Gray also read police records, statements from officers involved in his arrest, and police interviews with his family and friends. He also heard from Hurren’s wife, Jennifer.
“He would spend most of the day laying on the couch or in bed on his phone browsing the internet,” his wife told Gray.
At the time of his arrest, Hurren was married with two children, living near Bowsman, in northern Manitoba. He had a small sausage-making business and was a Master Corporal with the Canadian Rangers, a military reserve unit.
Hurren told Gray financial problems were at the root of his attack.
He left his job with a meat producer in 2019 after arguing with management over his complaints the company used expired meat, he claimed. He hired a lawyer to seek compensation. He started his own sausage-making company, but revenue wasn’t enough to repay the loan he got to start it.
His “anger and irritability” caused his marriage to deteriorate and he was in pain from arthritis. Other family trouble was distracting and stressful, he said.
To cope, he volunteered with the local Lion’s Club, a community service organization, and re-enlisted in the military, joining the Rangers.
In January 2020 he shipped his last sausage order. In March 2020 the Lion’s Club’s activities were closed and the Rangers’ activities significantly slowed when COVID-19 spread.
“One of the final straws,” Hurren said, was his firearms license expiring. When trying to renew, he found the government’s new gun laws had made some of his guns illegal.
His guns meant a lot to him. Some were sentimental — “the only real inheritance” from his father, who died in 2013, he said — and he wanted protection living in a rural area. He also enjoyed hunting. He wrote emails to Members of Parliament complaining about it. He was angry he only got “form letters” in reply. Then they stopped replying at all.
His firearms license expired in June 2020.
“The last straw,” Hurren said, was phone calls threatening to repossess his truck.
“At that point, he realized that he had to ‘send a message’ soon or otherwise he would have no means to get to Ottawa,” Gray wrote in his report.
Hurren packed military rations for the drive to Ottawa — which he didn’t steal, he said, they were expiring and being thrown out — and his military identification: “So that if he was pulled over, he would say that he was on a mission and would be allowed to continue driving,” Gray wrote.
Hurren said government funding for COVID relief was how communism starts.
He was originally charged with 21 weapons charges and for threatening Trudeau. Last month he pleaded guilty to seven gun charges and a mischief charge for damaging the Rideau Hall gate.
Gray’s diagnosis was major depression.
Prosecutors seek a six-year sentence. His lawyer is asking for a three-year term. He will be sentenced March 10.
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: AD_Humphreys