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shootings

Shots were fired on Parliament Hill this morning. A soldier guarding the National War Memorial was shot. The gunman then seized a car and drove to Parliament, after which there were shots reportedly fired inside the Parliament Buildings. The Globe and Mail has some dramatic video footage:

There were also shots reportedly fired by another gunman at or near the Rideau Centre shopping mall, and/or near the Chateau Laurier. It’s still unclear whether there are two or more shooters.

Downtown Ottawa is on lockdown, with the RCMP advising people to stay indoors and away from windows and rooftops.

I know it’s trite to say this, but this kind of thing is not supposed to happen in Ottawa, of all places. There’s not much information yet to go on, but Ottawa is the sort of place where you’re usually more likely to get bored out of your mind than shot. And I mean that as a compliment.

CBC has an updated live news coverage feed here.

Stay safe, folks!

Update: 3:45pm: What we know right now is that the soldier who was guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is dead, having succumbed to his injuries in hospital. He was a young reservist from Hamilton who was serving on guard duty this week. His name has not yet been released pending notification of next of kin, who are definitely in my thoughts today.

We also know that the gunman who then entered Parliament and started firing shots is dead, taken down by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who reportedly showed incredible courage in preventing further injuries or deaths.

Beyond that, nothing else is hard evidence. Everything else is speculation. Initial reports of a possible second shooter appear to be false (as they usually are) and the police have been very careful about releasing information, as the investigation is ongoing.

In times like this, I think it’s worth noting that finger-pointing, blaming politicians, speculating, advancing conspiracy theories, or otherwise wreaking havoc and inciting panic is a very, very bad idea. Please, everyone, take a breath. We don’t know what we don’t know. This isn’t about ISIS, Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair, Pierre-Karl Peladeau, Rene Levesque, Barack Obama, George Bush, or your mom. This isn’t about the media making wild leaps and assumptions in order to fill air time and gain viewers. Please, think before you hit retweet!

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