CBS News – A soldier standing guard at Canada’s National War Memorial in Ottawa was shot by an unknown gunman. The gunman was later killed in a shootout inside the nearby Parliament building, police say.
Officials announced Wednesday afternoon the soldier later died of his wounds.
Police say they are looking for as many as two other shooters after reports of gunfire at a nearby mall followed the initial attack on the soldier.
Witnesses said the gunman was carrying a rifle, and described dozens of shots ringing out in the Parliament building.
The Parliament itself remains on lockdown. Royal Canadian Mounted Police warned people in downtown Ottawa to stay away from windows and rooftops.
Officials say shots were also fired near the Rideau Center, a shopping mall near Parliament. All three sites – the National War Memorial, Parliament and the mall – are within less than a mile from each other.
“Most of downtown Ottawa is in lockdown,” Soucy said.
Ottawa Hospital has reported receiving three patients, two of whom are in stable condition, following shootings in the Canadian capital on Wednesday, Reuters reports. It is unclear at this time the total number of injuries.
People fled Parliament by scrambling down scaffolding erected for renovations, witnesses told the Canadian Press news agency. The top spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Harper was safe and had left Parliament Hill.
Cabinet minister Tony Clement tweeted that at least 30 shots were heard inside the building, where Conservative and Liberal MPs were holding their weekly caucus meetings.
“Shots fired inside centre block during our caucus meeting. I’m safe locked in a office awaiting security.” Kyle Seeback, a member of Parliament, tweeted.
A man who says he watched from his fourth-floor window above the National War Memorial as the shooting took place says the shooter was a man dressed in black, with a kerchief over his nose and mouth.
He says the man used a rifle to shoot the honor guard, “point-blank, twice.” Tony Zobi says the soldier “dropped to the ground,” and that the shooter “kind of raised his arms in triumph holding the rifle.”
He tells the Canadian press news agency that the gunman ran up the street toward Parliament Hill.
Emergency responders are still on the scene and paramedics took the wounded soldier away in an ambulance.
Canada had raised its domestic terror threat level from low to medium Tuesday because of “an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations,” said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the public safety minister.
The United States offered assistance to Canada on Wednesday in the wake of the shootings, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
White House officials were working to arrange a phone call between President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the incident, Earnest said.
U.S. officials were not in a position to say whether the shootings were the result of a terrorist attack, he said.
The NHL postponed Wednesday night’s game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Senators because of the shootings in Ottawa.
The NHL said in a statement it “wishes to express its sympathy and prayers to all affected by the tragic events in Ottawa.”
The game was scheduled at the Canadian Tire Centre in nearby Kanata.
The incident comes just two days after two Canadian soldiers were run over – and one of them killed – in Quebec by a man with jihadist sympathies.
That suspect, 25-year-old Martin Couture Rouleau, was shot by police, and later died.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman David Falls said Monday that the suspect “was known to federal authorities” and “authorities were concerned that he had become radicalized.”
The case is similar to one in London last year in which an al Qaeda-inspired extremist and another man ran over a soldier with a car before hacking the off-duty soldier to death. Images of Michael Adebolajo, 29, holding a butcher knife and cleaver with bloodied hands in the moments after the May 2013 killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby shocked people around the world and sparked fears of Islamist terrorism in Britain.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has urged supporters to carry out attacks against Western countries, including Canada, that are participating in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militants who have taken over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. It was not known whether the suspect in the Quebec attack had any ties to Islamic militant groups.