Canada’s Parliament was placed under lockdown after a gunman was shot dead inside Centre Block’s main entrance Wednesday.
Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus was nearby in a weekly NDP caucus meeting when shots rang out in the hallway. He described the atmosphere to CBC News.
“There was a moment of uncertainty. And then a realization. We felt like we were in Columbine. People were getting under tables, trying to block the doors. We didn’t know what was going on,” he said.
Angus did not mince words with Fox News telling the American news outlet, “We’re not gonna let punks, or crazies, or terrorists take us down.”
He later tweeted his thanks to security after he and a group of MPs were rushed out of Parliament and across the street.
Earlier, a reservist standing guard at the National War Memorial cenotaph was approached by a gunman and shot twice at “point blank” range.
The soldier, who has been identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo of Hamilton, Ont. by The Globe and Mail, died from his injuries.
The masked gunman then made his way toward Parliament Hill, rifle in hand, where he was shot dead inside by sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers.
The Canadian Press reports at least two people were injured in that confrontation.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was escorted off Parliament Hill’s premises during the incident, his communications director Jason MacDonald later confirmed his safety.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were attacked,” read a statement from the prime minister's office. Harper also “condemned this despicable attack.”
A separate statement from the PMO mentioned Harper was “thankful” to hear NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau were safe.
Investigations related to both shootings remain ongoing.
With files from The Canadian Press
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