Canadian authorities late Wednesday identified the shooter in a brazen attack on the Parliament complex in Ottawa that left a soldier dead as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, Fox News has confirmed.
The shooting, which left the nation’s capital on lockdown, came just two days after a terror attack in Quebec.
A government official told Fox that investigators believe Zehaf-Bibeau, who was killed at the scene, had changed his name from Joseph Michael Hall. U.S. agencies also have been advised he was believed to be a convert to Islam and was from Quebec.
Counter terrorism investigators are reviewing his social media traffic and profile, with a focus on any link to the attack on two soldiers in Quebec Monday.
The Toronto Globe and Mail said sources had told the paper Zehaf-Bibeau was recently designated a “high-risk traveler” by the Canadian government and his passport had been seized.
By Wednesday night, three persons who had been taken to Ottawa Hospital with minor injuries were all released.
The shots rang out just before 10 a.m., when a guard at the National War Monument was fatally shot. The gunman next ran into the Parliament Hill building, where one MP reported hearing as many as 30 shots fired and a sergeant at arms was later credited with shooting the suspect dead. In the following moments and hours, Royal Canadian Mounted Police converged on the scene, more shots were reported less than a mile away near a mall and officials told Ottawa residents to barricade themselves in their homes as they searched for more possible gunmen.
At a news conference hours later, authorities described a “dynamic” situation, and could not confirm whether more potential gunmen were at large, although they said no arrests had been made.
“We’re still in the process of clearing Parliament Hill. It is a slow and methodical process,” Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau said.
The shooting at the government complex came after witnesses said they saw at least one man jump out of a Toyota Corolla and run toward the memorial and open fire on the soldier, who later died at Civic Hospital.
The soldier later was identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, according to his aunt, the Globe and Mail reported. Cirillo was a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, a regiment of Reserve Forces based in Hamilton, according to the Globe, and was training to join the Canada Border Services Agency.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the member and his loved ones,” Bordeleau said.
After shooting the guard, the gunman ran to the Parliament building and unleashed a flurry of shots in the building, where witnesses later said they saw a suspect down near the library. Bernard Trottier, a Toronto-area MP, tweeted that the gunman inside Centre Block “has been shot and killed.”
Veteran Affairs Minister Julian Fantino told QMI Agency that Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms, Kevin Vickers, shot one unidentified gunman dead.
“All the details are not in, but the sergeant-at-arms, a former Mountie, is the one that engaged the gunman, or one of them at least, and stopped this,” Fantino said from inside Centre Block. “He did a great job and, from what I know, shot the gunman and he is now deceased.”
President Obama called the shooting “tragic” and expressed condolences to the family of the guard. The FBI was working with Canadian authorities to identify the source and extent of the threat and the U.S. embassy was placed on lockdown following the shootings, said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. The Pentagon authorized additional security at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, as well.
“We are following the active shooter situation in Ottawa near the National War Memorial and Parliament,” Harf said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. We have full confidence in Canadian law enforcement officials. [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry who’s on his plane on the way back from Berlin has been briefed on the situation and is following it closely.”
More shootings were reported less than a mile away from Parliament Hill, near Rideau Centre Mall, but police did not know if the incidents were related and said no arrests had been made.
“Most of downtown Ottawa is in lockdown,” said Ottawa police Constable Marc Soucy.
“We are still trying to clarify how many persons we are dealing with, and still waiting for the status of the victim who was shot at the War memorial,” says Ottawa Police Service spokesman Constable Chuck Benoit.
Harper “is safe and has left Parliament Hill,” Jason MacDonald, his director of communications, said via Twitter. Harper cancelled a trip to Toronto, where he was to present education activist Malala Yousafzai, of Pakistan with honorary Canadian citizenship. MacDonald said Harper was being briefed and would make a statement later Wednesday.
Witnesses told the Globe and Mail the Parliament Hill building was locked down and police ordered journalists to shelter in the foyer in front of the House of Commons. Members of Parliament also took cover in the building, tweeting from inside the building.
Michelle Rempel, a Conservative MP from Calgary, used Twitter to communicate with the outside world: “Mom im okay Im in hiding,” tweeted Michelle Rempel, a Conservative MP from Calgary.
Another MP, Democrat Hélène Laverdière, told CBC that she heard to 20 to 30 shots and hit the floor.
“There are currently active shooters in the Parliament Hill vicinity,” read an email sent out to the Prime Minister’s staff, according to Canada.com.
At the memorial, emergency responders were seen performing CPR on the shooting victim.
The drama unfolded just before 10 a.m., two days after two Canadian soldiers were run over — and one of them killed — in Quebec by a man with jihadist sympathies. And on Tuesday, Canada had raised its domestic terror level from low to medium due to “an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations like ISIL, Al Qaeda, al-Shabab and others who pose a clear threat to Canadians,” said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the public safety minister.
Scott Walsh, who was working on Parliament Hill, told CBC that he saw a man running with a double-barreled shotgun, wearing a scarf and blue jeans. Walsh said the man hopped over the fence that surrounded Parliament Hill and forced someone out of their car, then drove to the front doors of the Parliament building and fired at least two shots.
A Canadian official told Fox News witnesses described the shooter as having long, dark curly hair and a tan complexion and said he was wearing a white bandana and white hoodie. They said there was no license plate on the Toyota Corolla.
Public buildings near Parliament, including Ottawa City Hall, the University of Ottawa and primary schools were locked down. The Rideau Centre Mall, a block from the war memorial, was also locked down after a report of shots fired nearby, although a spokeswoman said no shooting occurred inside.
[“Ottawa Police] asked us to lock down,” she said in an e-mail to the Globe and Mail. “We did. We have no further comment.”
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said “our thoughts and prayers are with those injured.”
“As with all Ottawa residents and all Canadians, I am shocked and saddened by what has happened in the last hour here in the nation’s capital,” he said in a statement.
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