Man who planned to attack Veterans Affairs office in Calgary to be sentenced

CALGARY — A former soldier who hatched a plan to attack the Veterans Affairs office in Calgary is expected to be sentenced today.

Glen Gieschen, who is 45, pleaded guilty in November to possession of a firearm, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of a weapon.

Police recovered firearms, body armour, possible bomb-making materials, schematics of a downtown Calgary skyscraper and a plan to attack the seventh-floor federal offices during Gieschen’s arrest in January 2014.

Court has been told that Gieschen had a beef with the military over coverage for multiple sclerosis he believed was caused by a flu shot he received while in the military.

He was arrested after his wife called police because she was concerned that he might be suicidal. He was taken to hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act.

The Crown says Gieschen still poses a danger to the public and should serve between four and six years. His lawyer wants a minimum three-year sentence in a federal prison so he can get psychological help.

When he was arrested at his parent’s rural home west of Calgary, he was dressed in camouflage pants and was sleeping with a duffel bag near his head.

The bag contained a .40-calibre semi-automatic handgun that was loaded with a full magazine. Police also recovered a .308-calibre rifle, a ballistic range-finder scope for shooting long distances, a laser sight for shooting at close range, night-vision binoculars and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

There were also jugs filled with chemicals, empty suitcases with metal linings, 16 black sticks with a protruding fuse, carpenter nails, threaded pipes and six tubes of camouflage face paint.

Police also recovered black gun powder, 16 canisters of bear spray, 25 smoke grenades and a gas mask.

At the conclusion of his sentencing hearing, Gieschen, who remains in custody, told the judge he takes responsibility for his “irresponsible” actions from more than a year ago.

“My thoughts go out to the people that have been harmed and that being, first and foremost, the staff, their colleagues, their families, their kids. I can only imagine the horror and fear they must have felt when they saw that in the papers,” Gieschen told the court.

“That would be a horrible thing to come to work thinking some of the people that you’re trying to help, that have served this country, would want to do a harm to you.”

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