Security has been tightened by government authorities across the country, including in B.C., after suspected terrorist shootings that rocked Parliament Hill Wednesday morning and killed a soldier posted at the National War Memorial.
The attack started with the point-blank shooting of one of two honour guards at the memorial and a gun battle with dozens of shots fired then ensued inside the Parliament building, where one male attacker was killed, reportedly by the sergeant-at-arms.
Members of Parliament, staff and media were locked down inside while police hunted for other potential suspects and swept for explosives in Ottawa amid reports of more gunfire.
“We are safe,” tweeted NDP MP Jinny Sims (Surrey-Newton) from the ongoing lockdown. “Cannot believe this is happening in my Canada.”
At least two victims with injuries were taken to hospital and are in stable condition.
Canadian Forces Bases and many other federal facilities have been closed to visitors and military personnel have reportedly been directed not to wear uniforms in public unless they are on active duty.
The B.C. Legislature restricted visitor access but was expected to proceed with its afternoon sitting, with extra security and the public galleries closed.
Legislature clerk Craig James said staff received a heightened risk alert this week, and a small number of MLAs were made aware of it, but there was no specific threat against the B.C. legislature.
In Metro Vancouver, Transit Police said they’ve stepped up security measures on the transit system, as did Vancouver International Airport.
The Ottawa attack came two days after a Canadian soldier was struck and killed Monday by a vehicle in Montreal driven by a man RCMP described as radicalized.
RCMP officials told reporters it was too early to discuss the possible motivations of the attack and whether it constitutes terrorism, nor would authorities say if they believe another gunman or gunmen are still at large.
– with files from Black Press staff