MULTIPLE GUNMEN OPENED FIRE AT THE CANADIAN PARLIAMENT COMPLEX, SHOOTING AT LEAST ONE SOLDIER AND SPRAYING AS MANY AS 30 SHOTS INSIDE THE GOVERNMENT BUILDING JUST TWO DAYS AFTER A TERROR ATTACK IN QUEBEC SHOOK THE NATION, OFFICIALS SAID.
“We are still trying to clarify how many persons we are dealing with, and still waiting for the status of the victim who was shot at the War memorial,” says Ottawa Police Service spokesman Constable Chuck Benoit.
The shots rang out just before 10 a.m., and were quickly followed by reports of “several shooting incidents in downtown Ottawa,” according to a tweet from police. The shooting at the government complex came after witnesses said they saw two men jump out of a Toyota Corolla and run toward the National War Memorial, where one opened fire on a soldier, officials told the Ottawa Sun. The gunmen then ran to the Parliament building, where witnesses later said they saw one man – possibly a gunman, down near the library. Bernard Trottier, a Toronto-area MP, tweeted that the gunman inside Centre Block “has been shot and killed.” The other was reportedly being sought.
Witnesses told the Globe and Mail the Parliament Hill building was locked down and police ordered journalists to shelter in the foyer in front of the House of Commons. Members of Parliament also took cover in the building, tweeting from inside the building.
“There are currently active shooters in the Parliament Hill vicinity,” read an email sent out to the Prime Minister’s staff, according to Canada.com.
At the memorial, emergency responders were seen performing CPR on the shooting victim, believed to be one of the soldiers stationed around the clock at the memorial, Canada.com reported. The soldier’s name and condition were not available.
The drama unfolded just before 10 a.m., two days after two Canadian soldiers were run over — and one of them killed — in Quebec by a man with jihadist sympathies. And on Tuesday, Canada had raised its domestic terror level from low to medium due to “an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations like ISIL, Al Qaeda, al-Shabab and others who pose a clear threat to Canadians,” said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the public safety minister.
Scott Walsh, who was working on Parliament Hill, told CBC that he saw a man running with a double-barreled shotgun, wearing a scarf and blue jeans. Walsh said the man hopped over the fence that surrounded Parliament Hill and forced someone out of their car, then drove to the front doors of the Parliament building and fired at least two shots.