A Cold Lake man is speaking out after his son was killed in an altercation with police in Ontario Wednesday night. Police say 24-year-old, Strathroy, Ontario resident Aaron Driver had set off a bomb and was going to set off another one when he was killed in Strathroy, Ontario, on August 10.
Aaron was the only suspect in a suicide bombing plan for a major Canadian city, and intelligence officials say Aaron had shown support for ISIS in the past. His father, Wayne Driver, tells Vista Radio his initial reactions were shock and disbelief that his son could go so far, but he also says he was aware that Aaron had pledged allegiance to ISIS.
“We knew he’d converted to Islam. We were made aware that he was being ‘radicalized,’ if you will, last January when we were contacted by CSIS agency. We just didn’t know how far he had gone until he was arrested and hit with the peace bond.”
Aaron was put under the peace bond for communicating with allegedly well-known ISIS supporters in the US and UK. Based on a tip from the FBI, authorities confronted him as he got into a cab, which is when the first explosive was detonated. It’s unknown whether the man was killed by shrapnel or police gunfire.
Years ago, Aaron’s family initially felt his conversion to Islam could be good for him and that as far as they could tell his son was stable.
“He was stable. We thought him converting into Islam was actually a good thing because he had stopped the drugs, he had stopped drinking, he had stopped swearing, he was very polite, cordially, he kept a full-time job, he was going to school. It looked like he was turning his life around,” says Wayne.
The 24 year old’s father is an Air Force corporal at CFB Cold Lake. According to him, Aaron converted to Islam from Christianity in his teens and became radical without the family’s initial knowledge.
“We were in hopes that he would stay in contact with a counselor with a Muslim organization in Winnipeg, but then he moved to London. We were hoping he would get some sort of counselling to be ‘de-radicalized,’ if you will, but that obviously never materialized.”
RCMP have released a video of the suspect Aaron Driver, in which he warned he was planning to set off a homemade explosive device in a urban centre within 72 hours. Wayne Driver says he just wants people to know that his son was a good kid that went down a bad path.
“He was a good kid; he was intelligent. He just went down a dark path and there was no helping him to return. He chose the life that he chose lately out of his beliefs, not that I agree with them. However, I still loved my son and I don’t agree with what he did… I don’t know, you know, you still have to have faith in humanity, right?”
With files from Melissa Kelly, 106.1 The Goat