PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Soldier, 1 Suspect Dead In Shooting At Canada’s Parliament

Ottawa police officers walk up Wellington St. near the National War Memorial where a soldier was shot earlier in the day, just blocks away from Parliament Hill, on October 22, 2014 in Ottawa, Canada. Officials are investigating multiple reports of shootings and suspects after at least one gunman shot a Canadian soldier and then entered Canada's Parliament building.   (Mike Carroccetto/Getty Images)

Ottawa police officers walk up Wellington St. near the National War Memorial where a soldier was shot earlier in the day, just blocks away from Parliament Hill, on October 22, 2014 in Ottawa, Canada. Officials are investigating multiple reports of shootings and suspects after at least one gunman shot a Canadian soldier and then entered Canada’s Parliament building. (Mike Carroccetto/Getty Images)

Note: This is a developing story and we will post updates as they become available.

Police and medical personnel move a Canadian soldier into an ambulance at the scene of a shooting at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada. (Michel Comte/AFP/Getty Images)

Police and medical personnel move a Canadian soldier into an ambulance at the scene of a shooting at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada. (Michel Comte/AFP/Getty Images)

A Canadian soldier standing guard at a war memorial in the country’s capital was shot to death Wednesday, and gunfire then erupted inside Parliament, authorities said. One gunman was killed, and police said they were searching for as many as two others.

People fled Parliament by scrambling down scaffolding erected for renovations, while others took cover inside as police with rifles and body armor took up positions outside and blocked the normally bustling streets around the building.

Witnesses said the soldier was gunned down by a man dressed all in black with a scarf over his face. They said the gunman then entered Parliament, where dozens of shots rang out.

Ottawa police spokesman Chuck Benoit said two or three gunmen were believed to be involved in the attack. Gilles Michaud, assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, called it a “dynamic, unfolding situation.”

Ottawa Hospital said it received two patients, both listed in stable condition, in addition to the soldier.

The attack 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. The killer had been on the radar of federal investigators, who feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey.

Canada had raised its domestic terror threat level from low to medium Tuesday because of “an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations,” said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the public safety minister.

On Wednesday, Tony Zobl, 35, said he witnessed the soldier being gunned down from his fourth-floor window directly above the National War Memorial, a 70-foot, arched granite cenotaph, or tomb, with bronze sculptures commemorating World War I.

“I looked out the window and saw a shooter, a man dressed all in black with a kerchief over his nose and mouth and something over his head as well, holding a rifle and shooting an honor guard in front of the cenotaph point-blank, twice,” Zobl told the Canadian Press news agency.

“The honor guard dropped to the ground, and the shooter kind of raised his arms in triumph holding the rifle.”

Zobl said the gunman then ran up the street toward Parliament Hill.

Cabinet minister Tony Clement tweeted that at least 30 shots were heard inside Parliament, where Conservative and Liberal MPs were holding their weekly caucus meetings.

“I’m safe locked in a office awaiting security,” Kyle Seeback, another member of Parliament, tweeted.

The top spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Harper was safe and had left Parliament Hill. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa was locked down as a precaution.

Officials also canceled two events in Toronto honoring Pakistani teenager and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, including one in which she was supposed to receive honorary Canadian citizenship. The teenager was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 for calling for schooling for girls.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police warned people in downtown Ottawa to stay away from windows and rooftops.

Scott Walsh, 21, a construction worker working in a manhole right in front of Parliament Hill, said he heard shots go off at the War Memorial.

“We’re in construction and we’re used to loud bangs. When people started screaming and running, that’s when I clued, and I saw this guy running” with a gun, he said. “It was intense. I didn’t think it was real. ”

He said the gunman had long black hair with a scarf covering the bottom half of his face.

Guest

  • James Fitz-Morris, senior parliamentary reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in Ottawa. He tweets @FitzmoCBC.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

May 26 5 Comments

As Lethal Heroin Overdose Numbers Rise, Families Find Solace In Organ Donation

Organ banks around the country have noted an increasing number of organs from donors who have died of overdoses.

May 26 3 Comments

NEADS Assistance Dog Bailey Graduates From Service Dog Training

NEADS provides dogs like Bailey, a yellow Labrador, for deaf and disabled Americans.

May 25 Comment

Celebrating The Class Of 2016: Peace Odiase

Odiase is one of two valedictorians at Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee.

May 25 8 Comments

NEADS Service Dog Meets His Match

Here & Now has been tracking service dog Bailey, who recently met his new owner, since last year.