An armed man attacked the area surrounding the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, Ontario, this morning. In the first stage of the attack, a man fired a shotgun at least twice at a ceremonial military guard at the National War Memorial, mortally wounding him. The guard was taken to a nearby hospital but succumbed to his injuries. Witnesses described the attacker as as short, long-haired man dressed in black with a mask or kerchief over part of his face.
The shooter then apparently hijacked a car, drove to the nearby Parliament Building, and stormed through an entrance reserved for members of the legislature. He fired at least two shots in the building’s main foyer before he was shot and killed by Kevin Vickers, the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons of Canada, along with other security officials. The Globe and Mail has released video from inside the Parliament Building that shows an attacker firing, and then security officials returning fire and killing him.
A hospital in Ottawa has received three patients with injuries related to the attacks, two of whom are listed in ‘serious’ condition, but no details have been made available.
Police officials earlier stated that another shooting had taken place near Rideau Centre, a shopping mall in the area, but it now appears that this attack did not happen. An Ottawa Police spokesperson also earlier confirmed that at least two or three shooters were involved with these attacks, but it now appears more likely that there was only one actual shooter. Police officials have, however, stated that they believe more than one person was ‘involved.’
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Conservative) was evacuated immediately after the event began and was taken to a secure location. In addition, many government buildings, schools, and offices in the Ottawa city center went on lock-down. Local police officials instructed people nearby to lock their doors, pull their shades, turn off their lights, and stay away from windows. A spokesperson for North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) announced that they increased their alert posture as a precaution, and that they kept in close contact with Canadian authorities throughout the event.
The Canadian government increased their terror alert level from ‘low’ to ‘medium’ last week, citing a worrying increase in terrorist chatter. On Monday, a Montreal-area Muslim Jihadist named Martin Rouleau killed one soldier and injured another by running them down with his car in a ‘lone wolf’ terror attack. Rouleau was later killed by police.
Update, October 22, 2014, 6:32 p.m.: Canadian officials have identified the deceased shooter as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian-born Muslim convert and Jihadist who is suspected of having ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Zehaf-Bibeau had recently had his passport seized, as had the perpetrator of Monday’s attack on two other Canadian soldiers, because Canadian authorities suspected that they intended to travel to Iraq or Syria to participate in the fighting there. The murdered soldier in today’s attack has been identified as Nathan Cirillo, a twenty-four year old military reservist.