A gunman shot dead a Canadian soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa today before exchanging dozens of shots with guards inside Parliament in a terrifying attack that left the nation’s capital on lockdown.
Gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who reportedly recently converted to Islam, fatally shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a 24-year-old father, as he stood guard at the War Memorial on Wednesday morning.
Zehaf-Bibeau then ran inside the Parliament, where he opened fire before he was shot dead by the House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms.
Zehaf-Bibeau was born in Quebec as Michael Joseph Hall but recently converted to Islam,CBS reported. His attack comes just two days after another Canadian soldier was killed in Quebec by a man with jihadist sympathies.
Authorities initially said they believed ‘two or three’ gunmen were responsible for the attack in Ottawa on Wednesday, but at an afternoon press conference, Chief of Police Charles Bordeleau would not confirm whether or not they are still searching for other shooters.
The shooting spree began at 9.52am when witnesses reported seeing a gunman climb out of a car, grab a rifle, shoot the soldier in the abdomen and then run towards Parliament.
A shootout unfolded and Zehaf-Bibeau was killed by Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers, who worked for the RCMP for 29 years before joining the Parliament in 2006. (He is pictured by the Hill Times.)
‘I am safe & profoundly grateful to Sgt at Arms Kevin Vickers & our security forces for selfless act of keeping us safe,’ said Julian Fantino, Canada’s Minister of Veterans Affairs, on Twitter.
The Sergeant-at-Arms is responsible for safeguarding the authority of the House of Commons and providing safety and security of the Parliament buildings and the people inside.
As gunfire erupted in the hallways, journalists and politicians scrambled for safety, while members in the Conservative Party caucus room blocked the door with a stack of chairs.
A parliamentary guard was shot in the leg during the gunfight but is recovering in hospital, according to Globe and Mail reporter Josh Wingrove, who is inside the building.
Witnesses also told the Citizen that they saw a man wearing an ‘Arabic scarf’ and carrying a long rifle, while others said the suspect looked South American.
Yet to be confirmed, but ISIS has published a photo they claim is the jihadist…yet Canadian police nor Obama can muster a motive.
Update: Obama forced to acknowledge the jihad attack…he still hasn’t mentioned the beheading by a Muslim in Oklahoma:
Obama said the motive for the shootings remained unknown. But he said as more becomes known, that information will be factored into U.S. security considerations. “We have to remain vigilant,” he said.
It’s unclear who Obama is referring to when he says “we”. It’s certainly not the American people.
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