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22 Oct, 2014 14:40

Shooting at Canadian Parliament: Area in lockdown, manhunt underway

A manhunt is on for one or more armed assailants after several rounds of gunfire tore through Parliament Hill, as well as National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada. The city of Ottawa is on lockdown as police try to locate culprits.

UPDATE:Ottawa gunman ‘identified’ as recent Muslim convert, high-risk traveler

-1 soldier dead, at least 2 other people injured

-1 gunman shot and killed by police

-At least 2 separate shooting sites

-At least one gunman possibly still at large

"Incidents occurred at National War Memorial, near the Rideau Centre and Parliament Hill this morning," Ottawa Police said on their Twitter feed. Later police retracted their statement about a third shooting incident near the Rideau Centre shopping mall. The shootings began just before 10am on Wednesday when a soldier was wounded in the war memorial shooting.

One CAF solider has been killed, reported Conservative MP John Williamson. He was a reservist serving in Hamilton from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, reported the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Government Caucus received confirmation shortly ago that one CAF soldier was killed. A moment of silence followed.

— John Williamson (@JohnW_MP) October 22, 2014

Several shots rang through Parliament Hill, prompting concern over the ease with which the gunman apparently accessed the site.

Police officers guard Parliament Hill following a shooting incident in Ottawa October 22, 2014.(Reuters / Chris Wattie)

“So I’m locked down in Center Block on Parliament Hill after at least one shooter burst in and opened fire,”
local reporter Josh Wingrove stated. “I heard dozens of gunshots and the smell of gunpowder is heavy in the hallways right now.”

Williamson made a sombre statement amid the chaos:

Parliament Hill is never going to be the same.

— John Williamson (@JohnW_MP) October 22, 2014

"PM was addressing caucus, then a huge boom, followed by rat-a-tat shots. We all scattered. It was clearly right outside our caucus door," Treasury Board Minister Tony Clement told Reuters.

Wingrove also reported seeing a motionless body inside the parliament building, which he could not confirm to be either dead or alive. Dozens of shots were fired throughout the building. The gunman was subsequently chased by police into its center block.

Armed RCMP officers head towards the Langevin Block on Parliament Hill following a shooting incident in Ottawa October 22, 2014.(Reuters / Chris Wattie)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper managed to exit the building safely. Ottawa Hospital received three patients - two of whom had non-life-threatening injuries, according to a hospital statement seen by Reuters.

Canadian Armed Forces bases across the country are in lockdown and all Ottawa Police stations are currently closed to the public as gunmen remain at large. One shooter has been confirmed dead, according to senior CBC news reporter Aaron Saltzman.

Canadian police are investigating Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as possible suspect in Ottawa shooting, Reuters reports citing a source familiar with matter.

Ottawa police said they believe that two or three gunmen might have been involved in the incident.

Police officers take cover near Parliament Hill following a shooting incident in Ottawa October 22, 2014.(Reuters / Chris Wattie)

Associated Press Television News journalist Jorge Barrera reported that police are in possession of a photograph of one of the gunmen, who reportedly has dark skin and long black hair. Barrera also tweeted that police have the suspect’s cellphone.

All three locations are within a few hundred meters of one another.

Screenshot from google map

Shots fired at War Memorial at 9:52am today; one person injured. More details to come when avaialble #ottnews.

— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) October 22, 2014

Shooting at the war memorial in Ottawa. pic.twitter.com/1Z0p4Mj5Vw

— John Ivison (@IvisonJ) October 22, 2014

Police have ordered everyone off the Hill, including MP's #cdnpolipic.twitter.com/8TxvCd4VWk

— Richard Madan (@RichardMadan) October 22, 2014

Lockdown # cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/8D6eswGicz

— Richard Madan (@RichardMadan) October 22, 2014

A body outside ground at library of parliament pic.twitter.com/gtxWamyWmQ

— Josh Wingrove (@josh_wingrove) October 22, 2014

The incident comes a day after another soldier from Canada died in a road accident suspected to have been caused by an Islamic militant. He was one of two soldiers involved in the incident which was the first of its kind in Canada since it joined the fight against the Islamic State.

On Tuesday Canada raised its domestic terror threat from low to medium.

READ MORE: Canadian soldier dies after suspected Islamic radical’s car attack

BREAKING: Tonight's @Senators vs @MapleLeafs game at the @CdnTireCtr has been postponed after #OttawaShooting@ctvottawa#ottnews

— Catherine Lathem (@CatherineCTV) October 22, 2014