Canadian soldier shot dead as Parliament goes into lockdown amid shootings

Canadian soldier shot dead as Parliament goes into lockdown amid shootingsPolice converge on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Pic: AP

A gunman has shot and killed a Canadian soldier standing guard at a war memorial in Ottawa, then entered parliament, where numerous shots rang out, police and witnesses said.

Update at 10.25pm

A Canadian official identified the dead Ottawa gunman tonight as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

Update at 7.09pm

Police in Ottawa say they believe there is more than one gunman after shots were fired in the capital including at the Canadian parliament.

Update at 6.31pm

Ottawa Hospital said it had received three victims from the shootings.

Two of the patients are in stable condition, the hospital said.

But it would not comment on the status of the third patient, a soldier who was shot at the war memorial.

Update at 6.31pm

A government minister has said that the soldier has died of his wounds.

"Condolences to family of the soldier killed and prayers for the parliamentary guard wounded. Canada will not be terrorized or intimidated," employment minister Jason Kenney said on Twitter.

Tony Zobl, 35, said he witnessed the soldier being gunned down from his fourth-floor window directly above the National War Memorial, a tall granite cenotaph, or empty tomb, with bronze sculptures dedicated to those who died in the First World War.

“I looked out the window and saw a shooter, a man dressed all in black with a kerchief over his nose and mouth and something over his head as well, holding a rifle and shooting an honour guard in front of the cenotaph point-blank, twice,” Mr Zobl told the Canadian Press news agency.

“The honour guard dropped to the ground, and the shooter kind of raised his arms in triumph holding the rifle.”

Mr Zobl said the gunman then ran up the street toward Parliament Hill.

Canada raised its domestic terror threat level from low to medium yesterday because of “an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations,” said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the public safety minister.

Update at 6.14pm

Officials also cancelled two events in Toronto honouring Pakistani teenager and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, including one in which she was supposed to receive honorary Canadian citizenship.

Update at 5.57pm

AFP are reporting that the Canadian soldier shot in Ottawa has died.

Update at 5.32pm

The wounded soldier was taken away in an ambulance. His condition is not known.

Shots have been fired at three places in Ottawa including the Canadian parliament, according to police.

Update at 5.19pm

Constable Marc Soucy said there have been shots fired at the National War Memorial, where a soldier was wounded, on Parliament Hill and near the Rideau Centre Mall.

All three sites are within less than a mile from each other.

He said it started at the war memorial and that it is still unclear whether there is more than one shooter. No arrests have been made.

Canadian soldier shot dead as Parliament goes into lockdown amid shootingsA Royal Canadian Mounted Police intervention team responds to the reported shooting. Pic: AP

“Most of downtown Ottawa is in lockdown,” Constable Soucy said.

Update at 5.08pm

Police say at least one shooter has been killed, but they are hunting for as many as three suspects.

Canadian soldier shot dead as Parliament goes into lockdown amid shootingsEmergency personnel tend to a soldier shot at the National Memorial near Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Pic: AP

Update at 4.57pm

Royal Canadian Mounted Police warned people in downtown Ottawa to stay away from windows and rooftops.

People fled parliament by scrambling down scaffolding erected for renovations, witnesses told the Canadian Press news agency.

Police in Ottawa say that all of their buildings remain in lockdown and are closed to the public.

Update at 4.22pm

Emergency responders are still on the scene and paramedics took the wounded soldier away in an ambulance.

The top spokesman for prime minister Stephen Harper said Mr Harper was safe and had left Parliament Hill.

Tony Clement, a senior government member of parliament, tweeted that shots were fired near where cabinet was meeting. He said he was safe but still at risk.

Canadian soldier shot dead as Parliament goes into lockdown amid shootingsA Royal Canadian Mounted Police intervention team walks past a gate on Parliament hill in Ottawa. Pic: AP

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

The suspect had been on the radar of federal investigators, who feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey.

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