Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Canada: Update--On Multiple Shootings in Ottawa

According to Bloomberg and Yahoo News, Canadian police are searching for at least two people after a gunman and a soldier were reportedly killed in Ottawa.  The attack two days after the murder of a Canadian solider by a radicalized Muslim in a hit-and-run was shot by police in Montreal raised terrorism concerns nationwide.

Downtown Ottawa remains in lockdown as police investigate "multiple suspects." A member of the Canadian Forces shot at the nation's war memorial has died of his injuries, and security officials killed a gunman inside the main Parliament building, Ottawa police said in a statement.
Witnesses said a man with a brown coat was seen shortly before 1000 hours local time at the war memorial carrying a rifle. At least a dozen shots were also fired inside the Parliament buildings steps away from where lawmakers were meeting.
"We're looking at multiple suspects," Constable Chuck Benoit, spokesman for the Ottawa Police Service, said by phone. Police have been dispatched to several locations around the city, including a nearby shopping mall, to track two to three suspects, whose descriptions they have from intelligence reports, Benoit said.
"The situation is active and in-progress," said Sherley Goodgie, spokeswoman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which is collaborating with local police.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is safe and is not on Parliament Hill, according to a statement from his office.
Police wearing balaclavas and carrying rifles were moving between buildings near Metcalfe and Slater streets, about five blocks from Parliament Hill, telling bystanders to avoid the area.
"We're in lockdown," Karl Belanger, spokesman for the New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair, said in a telephone interview from the parliament building, where he was waiting "calmly" with about a dozen party staffers for the lockdown to be lifted. 
Belanger said at about 0950 hours he was about to move to another room where lawmakers were holding their weekly meeting. "I looked outside my window and saw the RCMP deploying, about 30 cruisers."
The shootings come two days after two Canadian armed forces members were hit by a car in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, a town about 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Montreal. One of the soldiers later died. The driver, who authorities say had been "radicalized," was shot by police after a car chase and the government said the attack was linked to "terrorist ideology."
Harper authorized air strikes earlier this month against IS militants for as long as six months, telling Parliament that group's threat "is explicitly directed, in part, against this country."
CF-18 fighter jets left an Alberta military base yesterday to take part in the mission.
COMMENT: Canadian police warned residents to stay away from the downtown area and to keep away from windows and buildings in the area of lockdowns. Armed officers were on the scene, with about 20 police cars surrounding the war memorial steps from Parliament Hill.
Harper plans to comment on the shootings later today, his office said in a statement. 
Marc-André Viau, a spokesman for the New Democratic Party, said he saw a gunman enter the main parliamentary building that houses the legislative chambers, pursued by police. Maurice Vellacott, a lawmaker for the Conservatives, said he was giving a tour to visitors when he heard a shot fired. "At first when you hear the bang, you're not sure what it is," Vellacott told reporters.
Another witness, Raivo Nommik, said "I was walking back. I heard the first shot and turned around and I thought at first it was just ceremonial. Then I just saw the guy with the rifle. The second soldier there running and he ran over one of the walls here and I just ducked down behind the wall here."
This report will be updated as new information becomes available.

No comments: