In the second shocking violent episode in Canada this week, a gunman reportedly exited a car near Canada’s parliament building in Ottawa. He shot one soldier standing guard in the chest.
Witnesses reported seeing a gunman firing at the Ottawa War Memorial and then running toward the government buildings, where more shots were heard.
A soldier has been wounded in the attack, Canadian media report.
The incident came hours after Canada raised its terror threat level following a fatal hit-and-run attack on two soldiers earlier in the week.
“Shots fired at War Memorial at 9:52am today; one person injured,” Ottawa Police tweeted on Wednesday as a witness reported seeing authorities search from room to room for the suspect.
Police have told those in the vicinity to stay away from windows and roofs as they search for the suspect.
The gunman – said to be carrying a rifle – fired on soldiers guarding Canada’s main war memorial and then ran into the parliament.
Whether this incident has any connection to Islamist terrorism or not is not yet clear, but Canada had just raised its terror threat from low to medium following a clear instance of Islamist terrorism.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was not near the scene of the shootings, and is reported safe.
There are reports that more than one gunman remains active in the area around the parliament and Canada’s National War Memorial. Police also report that there have been at least three shooting incidents in Ottawa today.
Update: The Mirror has video of the moment that the gunman opened fire inside the parliament building.
Update: The attacks come on the same day that Canada is set to bestow honorary citizenship on Malala Yousafazi. She won the Nobel Peace Prize last week, for advocating for women’s rights and education in her native Pakistan. That ceremony is to take place in Toronto.
Yousafzai’s activism on behalf of girls in her region in Pakistan made her a target of the Taliban at the age of 15, when a would-be assassin shot her in the head. Since recovering, she has become known worldwide as a spokesperson on the importance of access to education.
Update: The American embassy in Ottawa is on lockdown. One of the gunmen has reportedly been killed but others remain at large.
Update: The soldier who was shot at the beginning of today’s events has died.
Update: Reports now say that the first gunman was dressed all in black and was wearing a scarf over his face. He carjacked a car near the parliament and drove that car on the way to the first shooting.
Update: Canada’s government is tracking today’s violence as a terrorist incident, and will reportedly continue treating it as such until evidence suggesting that it is not terrorism comes to light. That is in sharp contrast to how the Obama administration handles suspected terrorist attacks in the US. The FBI and other government agencies in the US default to something other than terrorism first, and still considers Nidal Hasan’s 2009 terrorist attack at Fort Hoot, Texas an incident of “workplace violence.”
Update (1:23 PM Central): The Canadian authorities are holding a press conference on the shootings. Canada’s capital remains in lockdown as suspects are sought. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson described the day as a “sad and tragic day for our city and our country.” Authorities confirmed that a Canadian soldier and one gunman were killed.
The motive behind the attack has still not been determined, but it comes on the heels of one Islamist attack on Canadian soldiers, and ISIS chatter that western military personnel and their families should be targeted.
MORE: Police believe three gunmen were involved in shootings in Ottawa this morning and are looking for two shooters. http://t.co/IHV4galEtC
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 22, 2014
Update: A good guy with a gun stopped one of the bad guys with a gun. The good guy’s name is Kevin Vickers, and he is the sergeant-at-arms of the Canadian legislature.