Terrorist attack on soldiers in Ottawa—Parliament Hill under siege

Photo Courtesy Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes

OTTAWA–Parliament Hill is on lockdown and provincial legislatures across the country are reported as implementing extra security as a precautionary measures after a soldier guarding the national cenotaph was shot four times in the abdomen by a gunman with a long rifle who then fled in a car to the Parliament Buildings.

One person was reported killed inside the Parliament Buildings. There have been two confirmed shootings. One shooting took place at the National War Memorial, were the soldier was killed, and another inside the Parliament Buildings. A third reported shooting at the Rideau Centre was later declared to be a false alarm. Two people are reported as having non-life-threatening conditions. Conservative Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism Jason Kenny announced on Twitter that the soldier shot at the National War Memorial had died, even as the hospital treating the soldier refused to confirm the death. The soldier’s death was later confirmed in an Ottawa police press release.

The gunman was confirmed to have been killed inside the Parliament buildings. According to Twitter comments by MPs inside the building putting to rest any idea that the post is purely ceremonial, Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers shot and killed the attacker.

Police are searching house by house on Sparks Street as well as cars leaving the region for Quebec are being also being searched. Additional shots have been reported in the vicinity of the Chateau Laurier. An email sent to members of the Prime Minister’s Office have been ordered to “shelter-in-place” and to not leave the building for their own safety. The same 10:49 am email indicates that that “there are currently active shooters in the Parliament Hill vicinity.” All the party leaders are reported safe. Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes responded to a text indicating that she is safe and has spoken to The Expositor. She described herself as shaken and under lockdown.

“They are still looking for the shooter,” she said. Ms. Hughes said that she could see SWAT team members on rooftops across the street.

“The gunman was between the Conservatives and the NDP caucus meetings,” she said. “It would have been much worse had it been earlier.”

One of Ms. Hughes colleagues who has just returned from maternity leave had just stepped out to nurse her baby and would have been in the lobby at the same time as the gunman, but she reports that everyone is accounted for. “We are relieved that everyone is okay.”

Ms. Hughes’ became even more sombre as she discussed the day’s events. “We are all concerned about what has transpired,” she said. “Our thoughts are with the soldier who has been shot and our thoughts go out to the family.”

Ms. Hughes said “we are fortunate to have the security we have on the Hill,” she said. “We are very grateful.”

Ms. Hughes said that she anticipates that there will be an indepth review of the security in the nation’s capital.

“I hope that this will not prevent Canadians from having access to the House of Commons,” she said. “Obviously all of the procedures will be reviewed to see where the shortcomings might be that allowed what happened.”

Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha responded by text that all parties had decided that the provincial legislature should go ahead with regular proceedings.

Police are currently yelling at people to get down in Ottawa’s Market Square as they chase a suspect.

Updated 4:09PM Wednesday, October 22-14

Photos courtesy Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes