Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ottawa Shooting | Canada thrown into turmoil after shooting

Ottawa shooting likely to prompt uptick in corporate security
The Canadian capital, Ottawa, was thrown into turmoil on Wednesday when a gunman shot dead a soldier guarding the national war memorial before storming into parliament, making it into the heart of the building before being killed by a ceremonial official.

In scenes unlike any Canada has witnessed in its modern history, MPs barricaded themselves in a parliamentary caucus room by piling furniture against the doors, while others fled the building by clambering down scaffolding erected for repair work. Police went from room to room in parliament, breaking down some doors to check if anyone was hiding inside.

An air of panic was fuelled by initial, confused suggestions that more than one gunman was at large. But reports of a shooting at a shopping mall turned out to be unfounded.

The Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, was hustled away from Parliament Hill and was safe, a spokesperson confirmed. Cabinet minister Tony Clement tweeted that at least 30 shots were heard inside parliament, where Conservative and Liberal MPs were holding their weekly caucus meetings.

The perpetrator was later identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, but officials offered no immediate details about his background nor speculated on a motive for the shootings, which came two days after a recent convert to jihadi ideology ran down two soldiers with his car near Montreal, killing one.

The sergeant-at-arms, Kevin Vickers, who normally plays only a ceremonial role in parliament, was reported to have shot the gunman dead.

A member of parliament, Craig Scott, tweeted: “MPs and Hill staff owe their safety, even lives, to Kevin Vickers, who shot attacker just outside the MPs’ caucus rooms.”

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