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Shootout near Canadian parliament, soldier dead
Thursday October 23, 2014 9:39 AM, IANS

Parliament Hill in Canada's capital Ottawa came under attack Wednesday after a gunman shot dead a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial, before seizing a car and driving to the doors of Parliament Hill's Centre Block nearby, a day after Canada sent an air fleet consisting of CF-18 Hornet fighters in support of the efforts to fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.

MPs and other witnesses reported 30 to 50 shots fired inside Parliament, and a gunman has been confirmed dead inside the building, shot by the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, according to the MPs' accounts, CBC reported.

Ottawa police confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the soldier died from his injuries.

"One shooting victim succumbed to injuries. He was a member of the Canadian Forces," the CBC report quoted an Ottawa police press release as saying.

Police are not releasing the soldier's name until the next of kin are notified. CBC News confirmed the soldier was a reservist from Hamilton.

"Police also confirmed the death of a 'male suspect' and added 'there is no one in custody at this time'," the CBC report said.

Ottawa's streets were marked by heavy police presence as the investigation continued.

At an afternoon press conference, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) did not say whether another gunman was believed at large.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was on the Hill at the time of the shooting, but was safely taken away, the CBC report said.

Ottawa Civic Hospital said three people were taken to hospital with two being stable, and one with a gunshot wound. The hospital was referring calls on the status of the other victim to the Department of National Defence.

Despite earlier reports of shots fired near the Rideau Centre shopping mall east of Parliament Hill, police later said "no incident occurred near the Rideau Centre", the report said. Ottawa downtown area remained in police lockdown.

Alain Merisier, who works at a cafeteria in one of the Parliament Buildings, told CBC News that he saw a man in a car at the Centre Block with a long gun.

Cellphone video shot by a Globe and Mail reporter showed a chaotic scene in the hallway leading from the front doors of Parliament's Centre Block to the Library of Parliament during the attack.

Even as a volley of shots was fired, security personnel and political staff scrambled to take cover in the limestone alcoves with bullets flying by.

Minutes after the shooting on Parliament Hill, MPs and parliamentary staff began tweeting and telling reporters that it was Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers who shot the suspect.

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