Lawmakers and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have been moved to safety after a gunman fatally shot a soldier guarding Ottawa’s war monument, then entered the Parliament building, where more shots were fired. It was not clear as of noon how many gunmen there were, or which ones if any were still at large.
The Parliament building was on lockdown on Wednesday morning October 22, two days after a radicalized Islamic man mowed down two uniformed soldiers in Quebec, killing Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, 53, and injuring a second. Suspect Martin Rouleau, 25, was shot dead by police after a car chase. Harper said in a statement that he had become “radicalized” and been arrested previously, but released due to lack of evidence of a crime.
Canada had been on heightened alert for terrorism due to increased “chatter,” according to BBC News. It was not clear as of Wednesday morning whether the Parliament attack was related to terrorism.
The Islamic State has been urging its supporters to attack people in countries that are backing air strikes led by the U.S. against the militant group, which has overrun parts of Syria and Iraq. Canada is sending six warplanes to the effort and deploying 70 special forces advisors, The Globe and Mail reported on October 20.
Shots were fired in the main Canadian Parliament building as well, journalist Josh Wingrove told CNN. It began in the foyer, followed about a minute later with more shots fired in a hallway near Parliament’s library, he said. Members of Parliament tweeted that they heard 30 or more shots. Many of those shots were fired by police, and when it was over “a person was lying motionless on the ground near the library entrance,” CNN said. Ottawa police told the news network that there were “numerous gunmen,” but other reports were of a “lone gunman.”
CTV News is on the scene, live-streaming the shooting and its aftermath on Parliament Hill.