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Wednesday morning a man described as wearing a long, dark coat, and having long dark hair shot a soldier at the War Memorial with a rifle. He then ran across the street. Witnesses said he ran inside the Parliament building. Shooting inside Canada’s Parliament building forced a lockdown.
The wounded soldier was treated and placed in an ambulance. His condition has not been reported.
After shooting the soldier the man jumped over a small brick wall and forced a driver out of his car. He then drove to the Parliament building. A group of tourists were waiting to begin their day when they heard the shots. At least one man among the group said that he saw a car go by with a ‘long gun’ sticking out of the window. Shortly thereafter two men were seen exiting a white Toyota and entering the building, all the while filling the morning with gun shots.
There is a report of another body lying outside of the Parliament Library, but it has not been confirmed whether it is that of another victim or one of the shooters. A statement by someone inside the building says that one of the suspects has been shot and killed by the Sergeant at Arms. The search continues for a second shooter.
Another witness reported a black vehicle drove up to the Parliament, and a man with a rifle leapt out and entered the building. The vehicle had no rear license plate. Concerns that there may be a third attacker will require a complete search of every room in the Parliament buildings.
Soldiers and police continue to search for the gunman inside and outside of the building with guns drawn. Someone at the scene told the soldiers that they saw someone on the roof; that too was unconfirmed.
Authorities are keeping everyone away from the area including journalists. Those inside the Parliament buildings were told to stay in their offices and remain close to the ground, protecting themselves from additional gunfire.
This incident is the second attack in two days. On Monday a newly converted terrorist ran down two soldiers in a parking lot. One of them died.
All Canadian bases and public buildings are closed to the public until future notice. Police are performing a door-to-door search, and inspecting all vehicles in the area. All downtown schools are in lockdown.
As the shooting began, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was escorted out of the building and into his car. The motorcade evacuated the area.
There have been unconfirmed reports of shots fired in other downtown areas.
The search is likely to continue throughout the day. There have been more reports of gunmen on the roof. In addition there is a large wooded area near the scene. One soldier reported that he believed he witnessed an individual running through the area.
The incident began at 9:52 on Wednesday morning, Ottawa time. The shooting lasted for minutes as a possible 70 rounds were fired.
An update was just reported around noon, Ottawa time. Police now confirm that there were three separate shooting incidents; one at the War Memorial, one on Parliament Hill, and on near the downtown mall.
By James Turnage