Canada’s Parliament came under attack on wednesday with a barrage of gunshots fired both inside and outside the building as a man with a rifle killed a soldier before being gunned down by security forces.
Parliament Hill came under attack when a man with a rifle shot a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, before seizing a car and driving to the doors of building’s Centre Block nearby.
“One shooting victim succumbed to injuries. He was a member of the Canadian forces. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones,” the Ottawa Police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police said. “One male suspect has also been confirmed as deceased,” they said.
The motive of the attack was not known but it came two days after a recent convert to Islam killed one Canadian soldier and injured another in a hit-and-run before being shot to death by police.
Ottawa police confirmed shots were fired in three locations: the war memorial, inside Centre Block of the Parliament and at the Rideau Centre. The downtown area remained in police lockdown.
Police said an investigation was continuing and did not confirm earlier reports that more gunmen were involved.
Alain Merisier, who works at the cafeteria in one of the Parliament Buildings, said he saw a man in a car at the Centre Block with a long gun.
“We were waiting there for a city tour and suddenly I heard four shots,” said Jan Lichtenburg, a tourist visiting Ottawa from Holland.
Scott Walsh, who was working on Parliament Hill, said he saw a man running with a double-barrelled shotgun, wearing a scarf and blue jeans.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was present in the Parliament building but was immediately taken to a secure place as the assault began. Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are also safe, reports said.
The US Embassy was also locked down after reports of shots being fired. The US and Canadian air defences were placed on heightened alert after the shootings.