UPDATE:Canadian official IDs Ottawa gunman
A soldier was shot Wednesday in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, and a suspected gunman went into Parliament, authorities said.
Wednesday, October 22nd 2014, 11:15 am EDT
Wednesday, October 22nd 2014, 9:41 pm EDT
TORONTO (AP) - A Canadian official has identified the dead Ottawa gunman as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
Authorities and witnesses say a man with a scarf over his face shot and killed a Canadian soldier standing guard at the nation's war memorial on Wednesday, then headed into Parliament, where he was fatally shot by the sergeant-at-arms.
Two other people were wounded and in stable conditions, hospital officials said.
Wednesday's shooting came two days after a deadly hit-and-run against two Canadian soldiers by a man who police say was fired up with radical Muslim fervor. One of the soldiers was killed.
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BY RICHARD ESPOSITO AND ERIN MCCLAM, NBC News
(NBC News) - A soldier guarding the National War Memorial was shot and reported killed Wednesday in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, and dozens of shots were fired minutes later in the halls of Parliament, witnesses and authorities said. Lawmakers barricaded themselves in their offices for safety.
Authorities said that one gunman was shot by security forces and at least one was on the loose. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was safely escorted from the scene, his spokesman said.
Police told the Canadian television network CTV that shots were also fired at Rideau Centre, a shopping mall in the area, but a spokesman for the company that owns the mall said everyone was safe and there was no shooting.
Two Canadian networks and at least one member of Parliament reported that the soldier had died. Ottawa Hospital said it had received two patients who were in stable condition.
The attack came at a time of heightened concern about terrorism in Canada. On Monday, a man described as a radical Islamic convert ran down two Canadian soldiers with his car, killing one.
And NBC News reported earlier this week that Canadian officials have been concerned about the potential for knife and gun attacks there, including on military personnel, because of the nation's involvement in international fight against ISIS.
The first shots Wednesday were reported just before 10 a.m. at the war memorial, steps away from Parliament.
Inside Parliament, which was in session, a volley of gunfire could be heard for about 10 seconds in a video posted online by the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. Sen. George Baker, a member of Parliament, told MSNBC from his office, where he was holed up, that about 50 shots had been fired.
“I heard this pop, pop, pop and thought it was dynamite for construction rather than something else,” John McKay, another lawmaker, told CTV.
Another member of Parliament, Michelle Rempel, posted a message on Twitter: “Mom I'm okay, I'm hiding.” Justin Ling, a freelance journalist who was barricaded inside a cafeteria, told MSNBC that officers had told him: “There's an active shooter. Get inside. Get inside.”
Constable Chuck Benoit of the Ottawa police would not confirm how many people were involved in the attack but said there were “multiple suspects.”
Marc Soucy of the Ottawa police told MSNBC that witness descriptions of the shooter or shooters had ranged “from wearing a scarf around their head to dressed in all black, so we're looking at everyone.”
The motive for the attack was not clear, but it came days after Canada raised its domestic terrorism threat level. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have said that they are watching at least 90 known ISIS sympathizers.
And the FBI has been working closely with Canadian authorities as both countries watch for threats against their citizens.
“This is exactly, again, what intelligence officials have been worried about,” said Michael Leiter, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center and an NBC News analyst.
In the car attack on Monday, authorities identified the attacker to NBC News as Martin Rouleau, 25, a radical Muslim who may have acted alone but had links to other suspected fundamentalists. One soldier died, and the other was injured. The suspect was shot by police and later died.
Authorities were monitoring him and had revoked his passport before the attack.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police urged people in downtown Ottawa to stay away from windows and roofs. Baker, the member of Parliament, said that he could see about 100 armed officers circling the building.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the attack, and the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa was locked down, officials said. NORAD, the joint American-Canadian air command, went on high alert after the attack in Ottawa, U.S. military officials told NBC News.
In Toronto, two events honoring the Pakistani teenager and recent Nobel Peace Peace winner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban two years ago for promoting education for girls, were canceled. At one, she was to have received honorary Canadian citizenship.
The NHL postponed a game scheduled for Wednesday night between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators.