Soldier dies after Canada shootings

Published: Wednesday 22nd October 2014 by The News Editor

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A Canadian soldier shot at the National War Memorial in Ottawa has died.

Ottawa Police said the member of the Canadian Forces “succumbed to injuries” following a series of shooting incidents in the city this morning.

One male suspect has also died, police added, describing the incident as an “ongoing” operation with no-one currently in custody.

Gunshots were also heard in a parliament building as the city went into lockdown, with an unknown number of gunmen on the loose.

But police said that, contrary to reports, no incident occurred at the Rideau Centre shopping mall.

The force said in a statement: “The Ottawa Police Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) responded to reports of shooting incidents this morning in the downtown area.

“Police can now confirm that incidents occurred at the National War Memorial and on Parliament Hill.

“One shooting victim succumbed to injuries. He was a member of the Canadian Forces. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his loved ones.”

The statement added that the soldier’s identity will not be revealed until his next of kin have been informed, which is under way.

Cabinet minister Tony Clement tweeted that at least 30 shots were fired while a meeting was taking place between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other MPs.

“I feared this day would come, and my prayers are with the fallen soldier,” he added.

A spokesman for Mr Harper later confirmed he was safe and had left the area.

Police warned people in the area to stay away from windows and rooftops and asked for them to not post videos or photos of the “ongoing incident” to ensure the safety of emergency services and the public.

Video filmed from inside the parliament building shows officers rushing down a large marble hallway with weapons drawn in front of them, before the sound of gunfire and shouting rings out.

The footage becomes shaky as the cameraman, believed to be a local reporter, rushes for cover behind a pillar.

People inside the parliament building scrambled down scaffolding to escape, witnesses said, while other areas were in lockdown.

A photograph of chairs piled up against a door as a barricade was being heavily circulated on Twitter, apparently taken inside the meeting room in the parliament building where MPs earlier held their talks.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said he was “shocked and saddened” by today’s events.

“Ottawa police services are engaged with other law enforcement agencies at this time in pursuit of the criminal or criminals who have carried out this vicious and unwarranted attack,” he said in a statement.

Alain Merizier, a waiter in the parliament dining room, said he was on his way to work when he saw a gunman run from a car towards the parliament.

“I saw a car suddenly stop,” he told the BBC. “There was only one man in the car. He went out of the left side.

“He had a long gun and he ran away to the front and went inside the parliament. I heard one shot. I saw an officer running after him.”

Mr Merizier said the man had long dark hair and a small beard.

He said: “I was astonished more than frightened. I said ‘What happened?’

“You don’t have time to be afraid, you are just surprised.”

Vancouver South MP Wai Young said it had been “a difficult day”.

She said: “I am absolutely stunned because here in Canada we pride ourselves on being open, democratic and welcoming. To have this type of random terrorist attack happen in one of the safest places in Canada is quite shocking.”

The shootings come two days after a recent convert to Islam killed one Canadian soldier and injured another in a hit-and-run incident before being gunned down by police.

Mr Harper was due to meet Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai at an event in Toronto this evening but has cancelled following the shootings.

The Princess Royal is due to visit Ottawa’s National War Memorial next month.

Anne is due to attend the monument’s Remembrance Day service as part of a two-day tour of the area.

David Cameron responded to the events in Canada on Twitter.

“I’m appalled by today’s attack in Ottawa. I offer my full support to @pmharper and the Canadian people as they deal with this incident,” he wrote.

Ottawa Police chief Charles Bordeleau told a press conference that emergency services received a number of calls at 9.52am.

He confirmed the incident inside Parliament Hill occurred after the shooting of the soldier.

“All available resources have been deployed,” he added. “Our priority is the safety and security of our community.

“This is an ongoing operation and we are asking members of the public to stay away from the downtown core.”

He said police want to talk to witnesses of the shootings.

Mr Bordeleau would not confirm whether a second suspect was still at large.

“We’re in the process of clearing and security Parliament Hill,” he said, adding that members of the public should remain “vigilant”.

Police added that the attack came as a “surprise”, with the area currently considered a “medium” threat level.

Parliament sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers was named on Twitter tonight as the man who shot the gunman.

MP Craig Scott said: “MPs and Hill staff owe their safety, even lives, to sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers who shot attacker just outside the MPs’ caucus rooms.”

Published: Wednesday 22nd October 2014 by The News Editor

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