A gunman opened fire at Canada’s National War Memorial on Wednesday, killing one soldier, Ottawa police said in a statement.
Witnesses in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, say the gunman then ran into the main Parliament building, where dozens of shots were fired.
Ottawa Police say “a male suspect has been confirmed deceased,” but it’s unclear how that suspect died or if he died at the Parliament building.
During a press conference, Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said this is still an “ongoing investigation” and asked “people to stay away from [Ottawa’s] downtown core.”
Bordeleau was asked if police are still looking for another suspect, but he would only say that authorities are sweeping Parliament Hill to make sure it is safe.
Bordeleau and an official for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which is in charge of investigating what happened on Parliament Hill, said it was too early to assign a motive to the shooting incident.
This hour, Parliament remains locked down.
This is a breaking news story. We’ll update once we know more. And as we always tell you when stories like this are developing, information may come in that later turns out to have been incorrect. We’ll do our best to sort through what’s out there and reliable and update as needed.
Update at 3:08 p.m. ET. ‘Outrageous Attacks’:
According to a White House readout, President Obama talked to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to “express the American people’s solidarity with Canada” in light of today’s attack.
“President Obama condemned these outrageous attacks, and reaffirmed the close friendship and alliance between our people,” the White House readout of the conversation said. “The President offered any assistance Canada needed in responding to these attacks.”
Update at 2:43 p.m. ET. ‘A Tragic Day’:
Speaking at a news conference, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said what happened today is “beyond expression.”
“This is a sad and tragic day for our city and our country,” Watson said. He added that even though we still don’t know what prompted this attack, he was angry.
“But I will not let that anger rule the day,” Watson said.
Update at 2:02 p.m. ET. Soldier, Shooter Killed:
In a press release, Ottawa police say today’s incident happened near the National War Memorial and on Parliament Hill only.
Earlier, there were reports that shots were fired near Rideau Centre Mall.
According to Ottawa Police, the shooting started at the National War Memorial, where one soldier was killed. There was another shooting incident at Parliament and police say one male suspect was deceased.
It’s not clear whether he was killed while trading fire with police at the Parliament building.
Update at 1:56 p.m. ET. Soldier Killed, Ottawa Police Say:
On its Twitter feed, Ottawa police say one victim — a member of the Canadian forces — was killed in the incident.
Update at 1:44 p.m. ET. Briefing Upcoming:
We’ll know much more at 2 p.m. ET., when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police brief reporters.
Update at 1:34 p.m. ET. U.S. In Close Touch:
During his regularly scheduled press briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said President Obama has been briefed on the matter in Ottawa and will at some point talk to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Earnest said Canada is one of the United States’ “closest friends and allies,” and administration officials have been in touch to offer any support.
Earnest was asked if this was a terrorist attack, and he said he was not in “a position to render judgement on that at this point.”
Update at 1:33 p.m. ET. Multiple Shots Heard:
CNN interviewed Peter Henderson, who said he was locking his bicycle near the memorial when the initial shooting took place.
“I heard four shots, turned around and saw the soldier laying on the ground,” Henderson said.
“People fled Parliament by scrambling down scaffolding erected for renovations, witnesses told the Canadian Press news agency,” The Associated Press relays.
The CBC reports that “Ottawa Civic Hospital confirmed two people have been taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, one with a gunshot wound.” Reuters quotes Canadian television as saying that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is safe.
The National War Memorial is located in the heart of the Canadian capital near the Parliament buildings.
“Scott Walsh, who was working on Parliament Hill, said he saw a man running with double-barrelled shotgun, wearing a scarf and blue jeans.
“Walsh said the man hopped over the wall or fence that surrounds Parliament Hill, with his gun forcing someone out of their car. He then drove to the front doors of Parliament and fired at least two shot, Walsh said.
“Police said the man was not yet in custody.”
Josh Wingrove, a reporter on Parliament Hill with The Globe and Mail, tweets:
The incident comes after the country raised its terror threat level from low to medium and two days after two Canadian soldiers were run down — one of them killed — in Quebec by a man who reportedly had jihadist sympathies.