Diocese of Ottawa Bishop John H. Chapman has called for prayers following the shooting on Parliament Hill this morning. “Like all Canadians, we are following today’s news from Parliament Hill with shock and trepidation,” he said in a statement issued this afternoon.
Chapman noted that the shooting took place “just blocks from our synod office.”
The shooting began shortly before 10 a.m. when a man who has not yet been identified opened fire on a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial before hi-jacking a car, driving to the Parliament Buildings and entering the Centre Block. He opened fire again, injuring two security guards, but was shot dead shortly afterwards, reportedly by Parliamentary sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers.
The soldier who was fatally wounded has been identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, age 24, a reservist from Hamilton, Ont. Chapman urged prayers for the victim, “for all those at the centre of this situation and for a return to calm in our homes, hearts and streets.”
He added: “In this moment of huge uncertainty, building lockdowns, evacuated streets, barricaded shopping malls and minute-by-minute updates, we draw strength and courage from our faith and pray that this event will soon be over.”
When contacted this morning, the Ottawa diocesan synod office (located about a mile from Parliament Hill) reported being put on lockdown. Michael Herbert, who serves as director of financial ministry at the synod office, told the Anglican Journal that while many people were “going about their business,” police were also stopping and searching vehicles coming down Wellington Street (the main thoroughfare passing Parliament Hill).
Those at the synod office were later advised to stay away from windows and doors, and citizens have been told to avoid the downtown core as police search for other suspects, according to Art Babych, editor of the diocesan newspaper, Crosstalk.
No one has been taken into custody at this time.