Soldier shot at Canadian war memorial near Parliament

Last Updated Oct 22, 2014 12:06 PM EDT
OTTAWA, Ontario – Police say a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial has been shot by an unknown gunman.

Watch: Gunshots echo in Canadian Parliament
This video was taken inside the Canadian Parliament by a Globe and Mail reporter Wednesday morning. A number of very loud gunshots echoed through…

Witnesses said the gunman was carrying a rifle and also entered Parliament, where dozens of shots were heard.

It is unclear still if this was an attack by a lone gunman. Some witnesses report multiple assailants. Canadian police said after reporting the first incident that shots were also fired at a mall near Parliament. People fled Parliament by scrambling down scaffolding erected for renovations, witnesses told the Canadian Press news agency. The top spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Harper was safe and had left Parliament Hill. Bernard Trottier, a member of parliament, tweeted that the main gunman has since been killed.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police warned people in downtown Ottawa to stay away from windows and rooftops. Cabinet minister Tony Clement tweeted that at least 30 shots were heard inside the building, where Conservative and Liberal MPs were holding their weekly caucus meetings. “Shots fired inside centre block during our caucus meeting. I’m safe locked in a office awaiting security.” Kyle Seeback, a member of Parliament, tweeted. Emergency responders are still on the scene and paramedics took the wounded soldier away in an ambulance. Ottawa police confirmed they had a call at 9:52 a.m. Wednesday with a report of shots fired, and witnesses reported seeing a gunman running toward Parliament Hill, which is under lockdown. Others on the Hill told Canadian Press they heard shots being fired in several different corridors.

The top spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Harper was safe and had left Parliament Hill. Emergency responders are still on the scene and paramedics took the wounded soldier away in an ambulance. The incident comes just two days after two Canadian soldiers were run over – and one of them killed – in Quebec by a man with jihadist sympathies. That suspect, 25-year-old Martin Couture Rouleau, was shot by police, and later died. Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman David Falls said Monday that the suspect “was known to federal authorities” and “authorities were concerned that he had become radicalized.”

The case is similar to one in London last year in which an al Qaeda-inspired extremist and another man ran over a soldier with a car before hacking the off-duty soldier to death. Images of Michael Adebolajo, 29, holding a butcher knife and cleaver with bloodied hands in the moments after the May 2013 killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby shocked people around the world and sparked fears of Islamist terrorism in Britain.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has urged supporters to carry out attacks against Western countries, including Canada, that are participating in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militants who have taken over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. It was not known whether the suspect in the Quebec attack had any ties to Islamic militant groups.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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