The Day Canada’s Federal Parliament was Attacked by a Man with a Gun
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking later at Cirillo’s funeral, said, “He has now joined the ranks of so many brave Canadians who have gone before him, having given all in the service of their country.”
On Wednesday, October 22, 2014, chaos erupted in our capital city, Ottawa, when police received multiple 911 calls about a shooting at the National War Memorial.
A witness described seeing a man dressed all in black with a kerchief over his nose and mouth, holding a rifle and shooting an honor guard, point blank, in front of the War Memorial Cenotaph.
Within a short time the gunman ran up Parliament Hill and entered the Peace Tower entrance, which leads to the Centre Block, where he shot a Commons security guard in the leg. He then dashed up a set of stairs into the Hall of Honor, where he exchanged gunfire with three other guards, before charging down the Hall towards the Library of Parliament.
Politicians Were Prepared to Fight
That morning the Centre Block of the House of Commons was busy with its “caucus day” meaning that 150 Members of Parliament of the different parties and senators were meeting together in large committee rooms on either side of the Hall of Honor. A number of journalists and television news crews were outside the rooms, waiting to interview the MPs.
Alarmed politicians had to barricade the doors to their meeting rooms. Some members took ceremonial flagpoles to wield them as spears to assault any intruder if necessary. The Prime Minister was placed briefly in the closet in the Reading Room before he was taken away safely by the police.
The entrance to the Centre Block and the Hall of Honor was filled with smoke and the smell of gunpowder with cries of “Gun, gun, gun” as RCMP officers and security guards fired dozens of shots at the shooter, wounding him. Finally, the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, Kevin Vickers, armed with a handgun, approached him on the other side of the pillar and killed him in a gun battle with other Mounties.