SHAFAQNA – A soldier was fatally shot at the National War Memorial Wednesday morning before a single suspect was shot dead in Parliament. The chaotic situation is ongoing as police seek multiple suspects in the attack but say they do not know how many individuals were involved. “One shooting victim succumbed to injuries. He was a member of the Canadian Forces. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his loved ones,” Ottawa police said in a statement. The soldier will not be identified until his family is notified, police added. The soldier was a reservist from Hamilton, Ontario. “Today a member of Hamilton’s own Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was killed while performing the duties of a sentry at the National War Memorial,” Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina said in a statement. One gunmen has also been confirmed dead.
“One male suspect has also been confirmed deceased,” police said. Sources told The Canadian Press that Kevin Vickers, the sergeant-at-arms for the House of Commons and 29-year RCMP veteran, shot the gunman within Parliament.“This is an ongoing joint police operation and there is no one in custody at this time,” the statement from the RCMP and Ottawa police later said.At an afternoon press conference, police said they could not confirm yet if the gunman who shot the soldier is the same as the one who was killed in Parliament.“Gunman at Parliament’s Centre Block has been shot and killed,” Conservative MP Bernard Trottier tweeted at 10:30 a.m. Tory MP Bob Zimmer also reported the same.
Police have expanded their perimeter and have confirmed there has been shootings in two areas, the National War Memorial and in Parliament. Police said there was no shooting at the Rideau Centre, as was reported earlier during the chaotic situation.
Around 1:40 p.m., a security alert warned that all buildings in the Parliamentary precinct were still on lockdown. “This means stay in your office, with the doors locked and away from the windows. If your door does not lock, find a way to barricade the door, if possible,” read the alert, circulated by email. “Do not open the door under any circumstances. Security Services has the required keys.” Police are also asking citizens to not tweet the locations of the officers involved as the RCMP describes the situation as “on-going.” Ottawa Civic hospital received two new patients at about noon, one with gunshot wounds and the other with unknown injuries. Both have been reported to be in stable condition.
The hospital was not commenting on the condition of the soldier. In video taken within Parliament at about 10 a.m., about a dozen gunshots can be heard within the halls Witnesses reported hearing shots in different corridors of Parliament and some fled the building by using the scaffolding erected for renovations. Several medics were performing CPR on the soldier before he was taken away by ambulance. “There is a shooter on the loose,” a police officer in the area told the Post‘s John Ivison, shortly after 10 a.m.
Parliament is currently under lockdown. The PMO says Prime Minister Stephen Harper is safe and has left Parliament Hill for an unknown location. Both NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have been reported safe.One suspect was described as “5’9-5’10, overweight and wearing a dark jacket, with a white scarf around his face,” by Stuart Barnable, a Liberal staffer who said he witnessed the events from East Block.A Dutch tourist said he heard at least four shot and say the assailant running towards Parliament Hill, carrying a large rifle.
A Toyota Corolla, with no plates on it, was left outside of Parliament Hill. Multiple witnesses said they saw a gunman get out of it and attack the soldier. Bomb locating robots were deployed by police near the car.Witness Scott Walsh told the Canadian Press he was working near the East Block when he saw a man with long, black hair, his face covered with a white scarf and wearing a black jacket.“He had a double-barrelled shotgun, he was about five feet from me, and he ran right beside us, ran past the woman with the stroller and child,” he said.Walsh said the gunman then hijacked a dark car at gunpoint and started driving towards the Peace Tower.
In a brief statement the PMO said: “Earlier today there was an attack at the National War Memorial and on Parliament Hill. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were attacked.Another PMO statement said that Harper had spoken to both Mulcair and Trudeau.“The Prime Minister stated that facts are still being gathered [and] he condemned this despicable attack,” the PMO statement said.Harper cancelled his much-anticipated Toronto engagement with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, his spokesman Carl Vallée said around noon.
The White House was trying to arrange a phone call between Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday afternoon.U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron offered his “full support” to Prime Minister Harper.“I’m appalled by today’s attack in Ottawa,” he wrote on Twitter.Reports of at least one active shooter sparked chaos in Canada’s Parliament as MPs — and the Prime Minister — met just steps away from where a gunmen opened fire.Reporters and staffers grabbing breakfast and coffee were ushered in to the fifth floor cafeteria as security confirmed that there was an active shooter on the 2nd floor.
Huddled into a corner, with some staffers chanting prayers and others trying to laugh off the fear, two dozen Parliament Hill workers rapidly checked Twitter as reports circulated that one or two gunmen may still be on the loose.Many reporters had been in the Hall of Honour — not far from where the gunman later opened fire — when the first shooting occurred. Parliament Hill then went on lockdown.For the staffers huddled there, it was impossible to know the situation. Reports circulated of active shooters as cooks, unarmed security and an assortment of others huddled under counters.A Liberal party staffer locked in an office on Parliament Hill said Justin Trudeau was in Centre Block for a 10 a.m. caucus meeting when shots broke out.“I don’t know where he is, but I’m told he’s in a secure location,” the staffer said around 11 a.m.
Ottawa police say they received a report of gunfire at 9:52 a.m.The RCMP is advising Ottawa residents “to stay away from windows and off roofs due to [the] ongoing police incident.”All Ottawa police stations have been closed as a result of the shooting. Military bases throughout Canada have also been placed under lockdown.The incident comes two days after a Canadian soldier was struck by a car and killed in Quebec by a man with jihadist sympathies. The gunman was later killed by police.