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Peter Henderson heard gunshots ring out late Wednesday morning from the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, Canada, as workers were rolling into the office a little late, coffee in hand.
"I was locking my bike up, and I heard four shots," said Henderson, a journalist who reports on the telecom MARKET.
He looked toward the memorial's soaring granite arch and saw a fallen soldier, in ceremonial uniform with a white glove; the soldier had been standing guard at the monument with a second soldier.
"I saw one of the soldiers laying on the ground," Henderson said.
That solider appeared to be shot in the back, Henderson said.
Other witnesses flooded social media with accounts of the attack, including photos and videos. Collectively they painted a portrait of chaos breaking out on an otherwise routine day near the corridors of power in the Canadian capital.
Police reported several shooting incidents in downtown Ottawa - at the National War Memorial Museum, near the Rideau Centre shopping complex and on Parliament Hill. "Numerous gunmen" were involved, said Marc Soucy of the Ottawa Police Service.
In the immediate aftermath of the war-memorial shooting, the second soldier on guard duty sought refuge, Henderson said. The guards are thought to hold rifles that are not loaded, Henderson said.
Parliament member Kyle Seeback tweeted: "Horrific day on parliament hill. Shots fired inside centre block during our caucus meeting. I'm safe locked in a office awaiting security."
Another member Tony Clement tweeted, "I'm with colleagues Mark Strahl and Kyle Seeback. PM was in Caucus but now secure. Assuming it's not safe to venture out yet ..."
Clement tweeted that there were "at least 30 shots."
The second soldier at the war memorial "ran for cover," Henderson said. He said the shots sounded like they came from a high-powered rifle.
Later, bystanders rushed to the fallen soldier and began to perform CPR, Henderson said.
"To the best of my knowledge, (he) looked like to be a young man," Henderson said. "It appeared as though he had been hit in the back several times."
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