Let's quickly run through what we know about the Parliament Hill shootings in Canada: One gunman has been killed
, but there are substantive reports of multiple shooters in multiple locations
The Globe and Mail has released video capturing the sound of gunfire within Parliament itself, as police close in on...someone. We hear what appears to be one large burst -- a shotgun? -- followed by what seems to be reports from multiple handguns. The latter seem to be sounds of policemen returning fire.
The only reported victim was a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial
What I fear is the recurrence of a pattern we've seen rather too often here in the states: Initial reports always speak of multiple shooters, while the final story pins everything on just one guy. The map above (gratefully stolen from the National Post) shows the geography. I find it impossible to believe that one many could do so much over so wide an area.
Obviously, security must be very heavy in and around that building. How could a shooter at the Memorial get inside?
(We have vague reports of gunfire in still other locations
If the Toyota is indeed the killer's vehicle, then why did he head southwest to the memorial before going northeast to Parliament? And why would he enter the building from the northeast corner?
The Rideau Center is a shopping mall. There are conflicting reports as to whether shots were actually fired. The following comes from the National Post...
One suspect was described as “5’9-5’10, overweight and wearing a dark jacket, with a white scarf around his face,” by Stuart Barnable, a Liberal staffer who said he witnessed the events from East Block.
A Dutch tourist said he heard at least four shot and say the assailant running towards Parliament Hill, carrying a large rifle.
A Toyota Corolla, with no plates on it, was left outside of Parliament Hill. Multiple witnesses said they saw a gunman get out of it and attack the soldier. Bomb locating robots have been deployed by police near the car.
Witness Scott Walsh told the Canadian Press he was working near the East Block when he saw a man with long, black hair, his face covered with a white scarf and wearing a black jacket.
“He had a double-barrelled shotgun, he was about five feet from me, and he ran right beside us, ran past the woman with the stroller and child,” he said.
Walsh said the gunman then hijacked a dark car at gunpoint and started driving towards the Peace Tower.
The BBC has reported that crowds ran screaming from the Rideau center. If the map shown above is accurate, the incident at the Rideau center took place at 12 pm. I find it hard to believe that the shopping center would be anything other than empty roughly two hours after the attack at the War Memorial.
The New York Times has published a tweet indicating that more than one gunman was involved
. Security personnel have told Parliament staffers that there were three gunmen
No reports have discussed motive. However...
The incident comes just two days after two Canadian soldiers were run over — and one of them killed — in Quebec by a man with jihadist sympathies.
An "iffy" website printed a comment which said that the dead shooter was a French Canadian convert to Islam. This report was attributed to the BBC. However, I have not found confirmation on the BBC's website
From NBC News
Soucy, from 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.
The RCMP Twitter feed
has sounded some notes that seem almost deliberately calculated to induce paranoia. There may be legitimate reasons for asking the public not to post photos or videos of the incident, but at face value, this request looks like an attempt to control information.
Interestingly, we have reports that shots were fired after
the events depicted in the video referenced above:
Conservative member of parliament Stephen Taylor tweeted that the suspect had been shot and killed just after 10:30 a.m. Though just after 20 minutes later, Rosemary Barton of CBC reported that further shots had been fired.
There are also reports that another security guard was shot inside the building.
At this time, it is difficult to get a clear idea of the timing. Taylor, above, tweeted that a suspect was killed at 10:30 a.m.; however, another MP, Gerry Byrne, tweeted:
At 9:55am I was in a meeting on the 5th floor of centre block in the Leader's office when I heard shots fired. RCMP response was immediate.
So when was the video taken, exactly? The camera should have placed a time stamp on the footage.
Weirdly enough, there have been power outages
in Ottawa which, we are told, have no relationship to the shooting incident.