Ottawa: The Canadian capital, Ottawa, was locked down after a gunman shot and killed a soldier at the National War Memorial before opening fire at the country's parliament buildings, where he was shot dead by a guard.
In extraordinary scenes, up to 40 shots were fired inside the Parliament building as politicians, including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, took shelter in offices and were told to barricade the doors.
Local police confirmed that a male soldier shot at the war memorial had died as well as the suspected gunman following the attack just before 10am on Wednesday local time (1am Thursday, Australian Eastern Daylight Time).
The dead soldier has been identified as Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
Police sources have confirmed to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the Globe and Mail newspaper that the dead shooting suspect is Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian born in 1982.
He was recently designated a "high-risk traveller" by the Canadian government and his passport had been seized, the Globe and Mail reported.
It was not clear if the suspect had acted alone. Ottawa police said they were looking for one or more suspects. The lockdown of the city centre was lifted hours later but Parliament remained under tight control. Hours after the event, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in an address to the nation that Canada would not be intimidated by the attack, nor an earlier, second one this week.
While stressing that the nation's security agencies will do everything needed to counter threats, Mr Harper said:
"Let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated. In fact this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts — and those of our national security agencies — to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home."
Mr Harper, who earlier described the attack as "despicable", had been addressing a caucus meeting in Parliament when gunfire erupted just outside the room, a cabinet minister told Reuters.
"PM was addressing caucus, then a huge boom, followed by rat-a-tat shots. We all scattered. It was clearly right outside our caucus door," Treasury Board Minister Tony Clement said.
Mr Harper was later removed from the building safely, and Parliament was locked down.
Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino, a former policeman, told the Toronto Sun that Parliament's Head of Security, Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, had shot the suspect 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," Mr Fantino said. "He did a great job and, from what I know, shot the gunman and he is now deceased."
The gunman started his rampage at the National War Memorial, where he shot and killed a male soldier. Tony Zobl, 35, told The Canadian Press that he saw the soldier being gunned down from his fourth-floor office window directly above the monument.
"I looked out the window and saw a shooter, a man dressed all in black with a kerchief over his nose and mouth and something over his head as well, holding a rifle and shooting an honour guard in front of the Cenotaph point blank, twice," Mr Zobl said. "It looked like the honour guard was trying to reach for the barrel of the gun. The honour guard dropped to the ground and the shooter kind of raised his arms in triumph holding the rifle."
Witnesses said the gunman then hijacked a car and drove the short distance to Parliament Hill.