Buildings in Ottawa’s downtown core are under lockdown after the crack of gunshots rang through the halls of Parliament Hill’s Centre Block and a gunman fired on soldiers guarding Canada’s main war memorial.
Ottawa police confirmed that they were investigating “several” shootings in downtown Ottawa. There are conflicting reports of how many shooters appear to be involved in the attack on the heart of Canada’s federal government.
USA Today reports that there were "multiple reports of shootings," followed by a pursuit into Parliament Hill "sending bystanders and members of Parliament scrambling for safety."
In Ottawa, police confirmed a man opened fire at the National War Memorial outside the government complex shortly before 10 a.m., hitting a soldier who was standing guard. Jason Kenney, an MP and Minister of Employment, Social Development & Multiculturalism, tweeted: "Condolences to family of the soldier killed, (and) prayers for the Parliamentary guard wounded," Kenney wrote. "Canada will not be terrorized or intimidated."
Ottawa police Constable Marc Soucy could not verify whether police were looking for multiple shooters, as some media outlets were reporting. He said only that the response was ongoing throughout Ottawa.
The Globe's Josh Wingrove on the lockdown: Here's a statement from the Ottawa police:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 1:45pm
(Ottawa)—The Ottawa Police Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) responded to reports of shooting incidents this morning in the downtown area. Police can now confirm that incidents occurred at the National War Memorial and on Parliament Hill.
Contrary to earlier reports no incident occurred near the Rideau Centre.
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.
Next of kin notification is underway and as such, the victim’s identification will not be released.
One male suspect has also been confirmed deceased. There is no further update on injuries at this time.
This is an ongoing joint police operation and there is no one in custody at this time.
Ottawa residents are asked to stay away from the downtown area while the investigation continues. If you work in one of the downtown buildings, follow the instructions from the building management you are in.
A number of RCMP and Federal government buildings are also closed to the public; as is Ottawa City Hall and all Ottawa Police stations.
The Ottawa Police Service wants to speak to witnesses of today’s shooting incidents. Witnesses are to call Ottawa Police at 613-236-1222, ext 5493.
Those with tips regarding the shooting incidents, or those looking to report suspicious activity, can call 613-236-1222 or call 9-1-1.
Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477(TIPS), toll free at 1-800-222-8477 or by downloading the Ottawa Police iOS app.