The Canadian parliament is in lockdown Wednesday, after a series of shots were fired by an unknown gunman or gunmen.
The attack began at the National War Memorial outside of the Canadian parliament in Ottawa.
A soldier in uniform and carrying an unloaded rifle was shot 4 times and injured by a gunman with a rifle, witnesses report. Medics took him by ambulance to Civic Hospital, nearby, where he later died from his injuries.
Tony Zobly, a witness claiming he saw the first shooting at the war memorial, says the gunman “raised his arms in triumph” after shooting the uniformed soldier.
The shooter (or shooters) then apparently moved inside Centre Block, the main building of the Canadian parliamentary complex. More shots were fired, presumably some by law enforcement. Witnesses reported being able to smell the gunpowder.
At least ten Royal Canadian Mounted Police squad cars arrived first at the scene of the Parliament complex, sweeping the huge campus for the shooter/s. Other police and tactical teams arrived later.
Bob Zimmer, a Canadian MP, wrote on Twitter that there was a single gunman who is now dead. Bernard Trottier, another Canadian MP, echoed reports that the shooter is dead.
MPs are now also saying that the gunman inside of Parliament was brought down by Kevin Vickers, the sergeant-at-arms in the House of Commons.
The police have confirmed that one gunman was killed inside the Parliament building.
Reports circulated that there may have been more than one shooter involved in the attack, but Ottawa police’s first formal statement seemed to suggest that this was not the case. News sites are not waiting for more information.
As a result of the incident, Canadian military personnel have been told not to wear their uniforms in public, according to CBC.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was reportedly in the building when shots were fired shortly after 10AM, but he and his entourage have since left and are safe, according to the Telegraph. Harper’s spokesman confirmed reports that the President had been evacuated by motorcade from the Parliament Hill area.
He is slated to make a national statement later today following a briefing by security officials.
The shocking shooting comes two days after a 25-year-old convert to radical Islam ran over two Canadian soldiers, killing one, in a small city near Quebec. The driver, Martin Couture-Roulleau, was subsequently shot and killed by police. Authorities are considering that incident a terrorist attack.
Lockdown is still in effect in the Canadian Parliament. Police are warning people to stay away from windows. The Rideau Centre, a nearby shopping mall, has also been evacuated and is in lockdown, as is Ottawa University nearby.
Police have not confirmed if they are looking for more shooters only that they’re continuing to clear and secure the area around Parliament Hill. They are still “trying to ascertain the identity of the suspect.” The motive is “way too early to determine,” police also say.
Jim Watson, the mayor of Ottawa, says “Today is a sad and tragic day for our city and our country” but that motive for the shooting remains unknown.
More updates to follow.