A widespread sea of panic, chaos and confusion gripped the Canadian city of Ottawa when a gunman opened fired in the Parliament building earlier today with Prime Minister Stephen Harper being the perceived target.
A gunman entered the nearby building on Parliament Hill, officials said.
“I heard rapid fire — gunshots going very loud — and I figure maybe 20-plus shots within 10 seconds,” Canadian Deputy House Leader Kevin Lamoureux told CNN. He was one level below the gunshots.
Parliament member Kyle Seeback called it a “horrific day.”
Authorities in Ottawa said they were searching for at least one other possible shooter.
There were two shooting incidents in the city, where this kind of violence is extremely rare: one at the Canada War Memorial, which is near the Parliament building, and another round of shooting inside Parliament.
“I was locking my bike up, and I heard four shots,” said Peter Henderson, a journalist who was at the memorial at the time of the shooting. “I saw one of the soldiers laying on the ground.”
The soldier appeared to have been shot in the back, Henderson said. Other soldiers who were nearby doing drills at the time ran to help, he said.
“This is a dynamic and unfolding situation. I understand that people have many questions and we are committed to providing some answers as soon as we are able,” Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud, commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Division, told reporters Wednesday.
Flip through the gallery below to see scenes of the unrest that transpired during and after the Ottawa shootings. Warning: the photos are grapic.