iStock/Thinkstock(OTTOWA, Ontario) — Heavily-armed police cleared Canada’s Parliament building Wednesday, searching for at least one gunman after three shooting incidents near the Parliament left a soldier wounded. Gunfire was heard inside Parliament.
The gunfire prompted security force to hustle Prime Minister Stephen Harper to a safe place. His office is in a building near the shooting site.
Ottawa Police said via Twitter the initial shooting took place at 9:52 a.m. at the National War Memorial of Canada, but that was just the beginning of the violent episode, which has now stretched into investigations in two other locations: Parliament Hill and the nearby Rideau Centre.
Earlier Wednesday witnesses told Canada’s CTV they saw a man with long hair carrying a rifle and heard four shots fired at the soldier, who was guarding Canada’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A witness told Canada’s CBC the gunman then ran the short distance to Canada’s Parliament, jumped a wall, stopped a car at gunpoint and hijacked it, the witness said. The driver got out safely, then the man drove the car to the Centre Block on Parliament Hill where senior government leaders have their offices. Representatives for the prime minister said he has been taken to a safe place.
WATCH: Dramatic Moments Inside Parliament as Gunfire Is Heard
A CBC reporter inside the Canadian Parliament reported chaos there, hearing lots of gunshots. A lawmaker reportedly said more than 30 shots were heard inside Parliament’s Center Block. Ottawa Police Constable Marc Soucy told ABC News they have no confirmation of shots being fired inside Parliament.
All military bases in Canada have been put on lock down in response to the events in Ottawa, CTV reported. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa recently followed suit.
Canada raised its national terrorism alert level Wednesday, following an incident Monday in which a Canadian soldier was killed in a hit-and-run by a man suspected to have been a radicalized jihadist.
“This level means that intelligence has indicated that an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism,” Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the Public Safety Ministry said, according to AFP.
WATCH: Active Shooter Situation at Three Locations Near Canadian Parliament
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