A ceremony in Toronto where Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai was to receive honorary Canadian citizenship was canceled following a shooting in Canada’s parliament Wednesday. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office had also been scheduled to moderate an afternoon question-and-answer session with Yousafzai at a Toronto high school.
Ottawa police and SWAT teams responded to the shooting incident around 10 a.m. at Canada’s Parliament Hill, after gunshots were reported in the halls. Tony Clement, a member of parliament, tweeted that there were “at least 30 shots” fired while he was in a meeting with other MPs and Harper, who was safely evacuated from the building. Several hours later, the Associated Press reported shots were also fired at a shopping mall near Parliament Hill. Both the American Embassy and Parliament Hill were on lockdown.
Police said there were three separate shootings, if not more, and “numerous gunmen” involved in the attack. One gunman was shot dead inside parliament and a second was believed to still be at large in downtown Ottawa.
A Canadian soldier was shot and wounded at the National War Memorial, just a few hundred feet away from the Parliament Hill complex of government buildings, NBC News reported. Ottawa Civic Hospital told the AP at least two victims were transported to the hospital. Both were believed to have non-life-threatening injuries.
The shooting came a day after a man hit two Canadian soldiers with his car near Montreal. One of the soldiers died and the other was being treated for injuries. The suspect, identified as Martin Couture Rouleau, 25, led police on a car chase before police shot and killed him. Neighbors told police that Rouleau had recently converted to Islam, and Royal Canadian Mountain Police spokesman David Falls said authorities were concerned “he had become radicalized.”
There was no immediate indication that the Monday and Wednesday incidents were related, according to a CNN report.
Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Pakistani activist for human rights and female education who survived being shot in the head two years ago by the Taliban, received the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize along with Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel laureate in history.