Local Beaches-East York MP Matthew Kellway had to take cover this morning after a man shot a soldier guarding Ottawa’s National War Memorial before breaking into Parliament Hill’s Centre Block and firing shots inside.
Ottawa police have confirmed the death of the soldier, and of the male suspect, who other MPs say was shot dead in Centre Block by the House of Commons’ sergeant-at-arms.
“I’m saddened by the news, and by the terrorization of the public in the city of Ottawa,” said Kellway.
Speaking under lockdown from an undisclosed Ottawa location at about 2 p.m. this afternoon, Kellway said he and other NDP MPs were gathering for a regular Wednesday caucus meeting in Centre Block when they heard a noise – Kellway said at first he thought something heavy had fallen.
But shortly after a security guard came into the room and flashed a gesture like the cocking of a shotgun to signal to the MPs what had happened. The door was quickly secured and the MPs warned to take cover.
“It’s hard to describe, but I think everybody knew what was happening,” said Kellway.
After sheltering behind a wall, Kellway heard about 30 gunshots fired in the hallway just outside the room, which is one of two caucus rooms on either side of the hallway that runs between the Centre Block rotunda and the parliamentary library.
Kellway said he and the other MPs were later evacuated to a safe location.
In Toronto, Elaine Perkins, Kellway’s constituency assistant, said Kellway’s Main Street constituency office and all other MP offices across the country are closed today for security reasons.
After speaking with other parliamentary staffers in Ottawa, Perkins said some of her colleagues “are locked literally in their offices, being told to stay under the desks.”
Those staff were also told to barricade their doors, stay away from the windows, and avoid sending emails or using their cell phones, she said.
“It’s pretty tense at this point,” she said.