ELEANOR HALL: As we've been hearing, Canadian police are still
trying to determine exactly how this gunman managed to attack their nation's
Thirty-two-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau - an Islamic convert - is being blamed for shooting a soldier then heading into the parliament where he exchanged gunfire with guards before being killed.
The attack provoked a shutdown of not just the seat of government and its immediate offices but also multiple blocks of downtown Ottawa.
North America correspondent Michael Vincent takes us through the events as they unfolded.
MICHAEL VINCENT: At 9:52 in the morning Ottawa police began receiving multiple emergency phone calls - a soldier guarding the nation's war memorial in the heart of the capital had just been gunned down.
This man was a witness.
WITNESS: We were doing a drill and marching forward and then all of a sudden this man pulled a rifle out, it looked like a single shot rifle, and he shot the man and the man went down and the other soldier went to his aid.
MICHAEL VINCENT: People began performing CPR on the soldier on the ground - Corporal Nathan Cirillo. He was taken to hospital, but died.
After firing the fatal shot, the gunman can then clearly be seen calmly getting into his car. He drove to the other side of the street and stops at the gates of the parliament precinct.
There, it's reported, he hijacked another car which was already beyond the security point and he drove up to the main building - also called Centre Block.
Press secretary Greta Levy.
GRETA LEVY: Well, we were just, just leaving Centre Block as we first realised that something was wrong.
I was coming out with a colleague out of the centre doors and as soon as we came outside, just a couple of seconds later we saw women up ahead in front of us get down on the ground and we both stood there frankly dumbstruck until we heard someone yell "gun" and at that point my colleague and I, we both dropped to the ground.
MICHAEL VINCENT: Greta Levy's curiosity took over.
GRETA LEVY: A few seconds later I lifted my head and that's when I saw the gunman walking up the ramp leading to Centre Block and as soon as I saw him and he was looking in our direction, our general direction, I don't know what he was looking at and I saw the gun, I put my head right back down and he just kept walking.
He wasn't running, he was just walking calmly, deliberately and then a few seconds later we heard the shooting.
MICHAEL VINCENT: The gunman entered the Parliament. Inside were hundreds of MPs holding their weekly meetings.
The Conservatives in a hall on one side of a corridor, the opposition in another.
A volley of gunfire rang out.
The MPs began barricading themselves in with chair and tables - whatever they had.
In the hallways, security guards had their weapons drawn. Following closely behind them, Josh Wingrove from the Globe and Mail newspaper. He had his camera.
(Sound of yelling)
(Sound of multiple gun shots)
Reporter Josh Wingrove explains what he recorded in the hallway.
JOSH WINGROVE: This is after the first batch of gunfire, which to me sounded different and other witnesses have since said that here in the lockup. In other words it sounded like it might have been a different gun firing at first, maybe a rifle.
If you ask one witness that it sounded like a rifle and of course, other people saw a guy, a shooter with a rifle so you sort of, you know, there's some dots to connect there.
You know, don't want to make too many presumptions but it sounded like there was sort of different sounding batch of gunfire and that's what caught my attention in front the Conservative caucus room which is just sort of around the corner.
And looking out we saw all the officers around the rotunda, which is of course the grand sort of entrance of parliament and they were, they had their guns drawn and were just standing. It looked like they didn't know what to do. You can appreciate it was very chaotic.
MICHAEL VINCENT: The chaos didn't end with the dead gunman. He was later named as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a 32-year-old convert to Islam.
Police suspected there were more people involved - block after block of downtown Ottawa was cordoned off.
Witnesses on television talked of seeing more than one person. Heavily armed officers and soldiers flooded the surrounding streets.
Some pointed their guns at roof tops. Across the city, schools were put into lockdown.
Four hours later police held a press conference, but explained little. They wouldn't even link the gunman who killed the soldier to the parliament shooting, calling it simply the second incident.
They referred ominously to the situation being fluid and ongoing.
Over the course of the afternoon lockdowns in the city blocks around the parliament were partially lifted. But after nightfall - more than 10 hours after the original shooting - the lockdown in those city blocks was reinstated.
ELEANOR HALL: That's our North America correspondent, Michael Vincent.