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THE SITUATION ROOM
Shooting in Ottawa Shuts Down Parliament; Canadian Parliament on Lockdown
Aired October 22, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news.
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BLITZER: Chaos in Canada. Parliament on lockdown. The prime minister evacuated, after a gunman is shot dead inside the building and a soldier is killed while standing guard nearby.
City under siege. Fear grips Canada's capital after the shootings. Offices, businesses and bridges sealed off and people ordered to shelter in place during the search for at least one other possible shooter.
And the FBI now on alert. The Canada shootings and calls by ISIS for attacks on American targets lead to stepped-up security on this side of the border.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Let's get right to the breaking news. Gunfire echoes in Canada's capital in the halls of Parliament and in a National War Memorial. A soldier and gunman are now dead. Lawmakers are in lockdown. Schools and businesses have been closed in downtown Ottawa until police can rule out the possibility of other assailants.
All of this less than an hour's drive from the United States, where the FBI has put out its field offices, all of them on alert. Our correspondents, our analysts and our newsmakers, they are standing by with complete coverage.
Let's begin with our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. He has the very latest -- Jim.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight Ottawa police say there are still other suspects they are looking for, and police are still going door to door on Parliament Hill to make sure the area, the equivalent of the U.S. Capitol Hill, is safe. Here's where the shootings took place. The first one here at the
cenotaph memorial. And just a few minutes later, about 400 yards away at the main Parliament building here and inside is where the second shootings took place just a few minutes' distance. This has given some credence to the idea that there might have been one shooter involved, though that is still not confirmed.
Still, this is an attack that is raising alert levels on both sides of the border. Here in the U.S., Arlington National Cemetery and New York City heightening security as a precaution.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Terror on Canada's Parliament Hill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, there is a shooter on the loose!
SCIUTTO: 9:52 a.m., shots rang out at the war memorial. The victim, a Canadian soldier standing guard at the site.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy came from the side, on my left-hand side and came out with a rifle and shot at the man, and then the guy went falling down.
SCIUTTO: From the scene, police received multiple 911 calls.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While we were working on the statue, and I heard a bunch of pops. I thought it was just firecrackers going off, so I look across the street and there is a man with a rifle shooting at a bunch of people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden I just heard a shot and turned around, and there was a guy with a rifle just around on the back corner and just "pow."
SCIUTTO: Moments later, around 10 a.m., shots fired inside the Parliament building, just a few hundred yards away.
Police scrambled. A second round of shooting follows a minute later.
Lawmakers inside the building huddled in a caucus room. They piled up chairs against the door to barricade themselves in. Police rushed others outside to safety.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hear this pop, pop, pop. Possibly ten shots. We don't really know. I thought it was dynamite, rather than -- or construction, rather than anything else. Some of the security guards came rushing down the hallways. Ushers all to the back of the Parliament buildings.
SCIUTTO: In the chaos, a hero, the Parliament's sergeant-at-arms shooting down an armed suspect. Shortly after 1 p.m., confirmation the Canadian soldier shot at the war memorial is dead. An hour later, Canadian police announced suspected shooter, a male, is
also dead. Police, however, still unsure whether another gunman remains on the loose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are still investigating the active operation. We're in the process right now with the RCMP in the clearing and securing Parliament Hill, and that's a slow, methodical approach.
SCIUTTO: And tonight Canada's capital, Ottawa, is still on alert. Just a week ago a Canadian claiming to be with ISIS, Abu Khalid al- Kanadi, a Canadian, posted this message on Twitter: "Yes, my message is clear. Canada initiated attacks on the Islamic state. That is taking part in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS. So Muslims in Canada, retaliate and kill them wherever you find them."
Now, two days ago, a suspect known to be consuming ISIS propaganda drove his car into a Canadian soldier, killing him.
Today's attack has no connection to Islamic extremism, but it's a style of lone-wolf attack that concerns officials both in Canada and here in the U.S. Wolf, you'll remember yesterday when I spoke to the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matt Olsen. He said the most likely attack that he's concerned about taking place in the U.S. is lone-wolf attacks just like that.
BLITZER: Yes, I know. This is one of those raising lots of -- lots of concern for obvious reason. Jim, thanks very much.
U.S. intelligence is working very closely with Canada to investigate the latest violence and the FBI on alert, especially after recent calls from ISIS to target Americans.
Let's bring in our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown. She's getting more information. What are you learning?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: We're learning, Wolf, the FBI has asked all of its field offices across the country to stay on heightened alert, remain vigilant in the wake of the events in Canada this week, where two soldiers have been killed in two separate incidents.
The concern among law-enforcement officials, as Jim alluded to, is that we could see someone try to emulate this in the U.S. We know just in the past week or so, the FBI and DHS sent out a bulletin to law-enforcement agencies after intelligence picked up chatter from ISIS members, urging attacks against government officials in the U.S., including law enforcement and military personnel.
And the top concern: lone-wolf attacks, because they're difficult to detect, especially those small-scale, tactical opportunities like a hit and run, something like that that doesn't take much plotting. It happens with little to no warning and it's not going hit a lot of trip wires. So what happened in Canada, Wolf, reinforces the need to be vigilant here in the U.S.
BLITZER: They're taking a lot of precautions right now, as they say, out of an abundance of caution, but they're also deeply worried about what they call that chatter and the thought that there could be something behind these maybe random, but maybe not so random incidents in Canada. Thanks very much, Pamela, for that.
President Obama certainly has been briefed on all the violence in Ottawa. He's spoken directly with Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper. Let's get some more from our White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
What else are you learning, Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. President Bush did call Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier today to express U.S. solidarity with Canada.
The president also condemned what he called the outrageous attacks in both Ottawa and in Quebec earlier this week where a soldier was killed in a separate incident involving a radicalized Canadian.
And just about a half an hour ago, sitting with his new Ebola response coordinator, Ron Klain, the president said the U.S. national security team is working closely with Canadian authorities to get to the bottom of what happened in Ottawa.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't have all of the information about what motivated the shooting. We don't yet have all the information about whether this was part of a broader network or plan or whether this was an individual or a series of individuals who decided to take these actions, but it emphasizes the degree to which we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorists.
And I pledge, as always, to make sure that our national security teams are coordinating very closely given not only it's Canada, one of our closest allies in the world. But they are our neighbors and our friends.
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SCIUTTO: Now one thing White House press secretary Josh Earnest said earlier today is that U.S. and Canadian officials have been having discussions about this issue of countering violent extremism, and foreign fighters who can be turned against the West by ISIS.
The White House being careful not to draw any conclusions on what happened in Ottawa earlier today, but one well-placed U.S. official said a terrorist connection is not being ruled out at this point, Wolf.
BLITZER: What about the security level over at the White House where you are?
SCIUTTO: Wolf, we have not seen that security presence beefed up over here. I did talk to a senior Secret Service official earlier today who said that the agency is monitoring the situation in Canada, obviously, and of course, security procedures, as you know, Wolf, are already being reviewed here at the White House after last month's fence-jumping incident involving that White House intruder. But at this point we're not really seeing any change in posture here at the White House.
BLITZER: And that intruder didn't just cross the fence, didn't get over the fence. He got inside the White House. He actually got into the East Room of the White House, as well. That caused all sorts of concern.
All right. Thanks very much, Jim, for that.
Joining us on the phone right now is Josh Wingrove. He's a reporter for the "Toronto Globe and Mail" newspaper. He was inside the Parliament building when the shooting started and recorded some incredible video.
First of all, what's the latest that you're hearing, Josh, over there? Are the law-enforcement authorities still searching the Parliament building?
JOSH WINGROVE, REPORTER, "TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL" (via phone): Well, it seems so. We're still stuck in a lockdown, and it's dragged on for about seven hours now. So, you know, all signs are that this is a very active, a very fluid situation here.
So what they've done is sort of corralled everyone who was in the building, MPs, staff, journalists, and put them in one room under guard while they go around, trying to figure out what's happening, and I think that's sort of where we are right now.
BLITZER: So they're looking, obviously, for a potential second suspect, even though they're not saying that there is a second suspect. That's their fear. Is that right?
WINGROVE: Yes. We heard today at 9:52 a.m. was when the shooting was at the War Memorial. And I -- at 9:54 I heard the shooting. You have to be very fast to do both of those things in that time order if those times are correct.
I think right now it's still too soon to say whether they've got everyone. But again, sort of from inside the bubble here, it's hard for us to know, and we've been locked down. We've got women and children, babies here in this room, and I think everyone is just trying to stay calm.
It's been quite the day, particularly for tourists who are not used to the building. This is not what they signed up for when they came to see Parliament today.
BLITZER: Yes. We know that lockdown continues not only in Parliament but in the U.S. embassy is under lockdown, as well. The Canadian embassy here in Washington under lockdown.
We have the incredible video from "The Globe & Mail" that you guys shot earlier today. I'm going to play some of it for our viewers. Watch this.
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BLITZER: Describe what it was like to hear those sounds and to be there.
WINGROVE: Oh, it -- it was -- it had me shaken as you can imagine. Seeing the video, I'm sort of kicking myself for flinching, and the video cuts out from time to time. I've done assignments internationally in Afghanistan, and that's what jumped to mind for me, sort of that sound of gunfire and that instinct to hit -- hit cover.
But, you know, I think in many ways, the first responders sort of run toward trouble, and that's part of the job. So that was what was going on. There, I think I got lucky, and I'm expecting an earful from my fiance later tonight.
BLITZER: I'm sure you will be. Can you imagine -- did you ever think -- did you ever think, Josh, you would be experiencing something like this in Parliament in Ottawa?
WINGROVE: No, I tell you. You know, I was writing a really boring story sitting in the hallway by comparison, you know, in the minutes before the shooting. It's just horrible.
In Canada security is pretty easy going here in Parliament. You can get right up to the side of the building without being seen. And the door that the guy appears to have gone through didn't have a metal detector. It's a door for MPs or staff or accredited journalists to sort of get in and out quickly, and I can't imagine that that, you know, option being available to us going forward.
But you know, there's a sense of calm here. Normally, it's a tourist attraction and security is pretty, you know, easy-going and has been. And obviously today he took advantage of that and we heard RCMP got caught off guard.
BLITZER: You actually saw a body there in Parliament, is that right?
WINGROVE: That's right. Down near the end of the Hall of Honor, which is where we have a tribute to our soldiers who died in Afghanistan. The police went down that, and that led to the fire fight that you saw in the video. What I believe I saw was a body slumped over there. I probably can't confirm who it was. There was a report of at least one shooter is dead and that the only guard shot is OK. He was shot in the leg.
So that appears to have been the culmination of what happened here, and of course, we have the other attack at the war memorial which is tragic and has led, like, to a soldier dying. This comes two days after we had a soldier die in a hit and run in Quebec in the next province over. So there's a string of events that have happened, and it's hard to say whether they're connected, but the timeline is pretty conspicuous.
BLITZER: It's pretty conspicuous. And what, last Friday or so, the Canadian government raises the threat level in the country because of what they call chatter, disturbing intelligence that intercepts, communications intercepts or whatever, that on Monday there was an incident, where a radicalized Canadian, apparently a convert to Islam, I take it, goes, uses his car and kills a soldier.
And then today we see what's happening first, first at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, then a few minutes away over at the Parliament. I take it the suspicion is there is some sort of connection, right?
WINGROVE: Certainly, it seems to be. And the fact that we're under lockdown speaks to that. I mean, I think if they thought they had the situation under control, we would be let out a long time ago, and we haven't been. And there's been no word on whether we will be. So, you know, very fluid.
There was a press conference and they didn't have a lot in the way of answers, and that is understandable. This is very sort of fast moving, but this is by no means a situation that is considered over. It's unclear whether there's a manhunt going. It's unclear whether there's another person in the building I'm in still in Parliament. It's unclear when we'll be able to leave. And it's unclear how many people ultimately paid a price with bloodshed in this whole ordeal.
So a lot of questions still unanswered here, but just a horrifying day for a lot of people to witness, the first responders, and tourists, journalists, what have you.
BLITZER: I suspect -- I suspect the body that you saw at the Parliament was the shooter, because the other body was at the National War Memorial. That's the soldier who was killed.
How far -- how long would it take that shooter, assuming it's the same person, to get from the war memorial over to the Parliament?
WINGROVE: I mean, you could run in a couple of minutes, but you'd have to be -- you know, for someone to apparently do something at 9:52 when the police got the call at the war memorial. And I noted the gunfire at 9:54. That's a pretty tight timeline. Either the 911 calls came late, which is hard to imagine, or the guy absolutely sprinted and somehow wasn't noticed by all the security outside carrying a gun, which seems implausible or there was more than one person involved.
BLITZER: The suspicion is there more than one person involved, because it would have been hard for someone with a weapon, for example, to run from the National War Memorial all the way to the Parliament and then get in through that door that you say there really are no metal detectors for members of Parliament and accredited journalists. There are law-enforcement authorities there at that door, right?
WINGROVE: There are, yes. There are usually two right there and a couple more at the top of a very short staircase that gets into the rotunda area. That is the rotunda where a lot of the gunfire went down, and it's from there, you know, it moved down to the Hall of Honor toward the library of Parliament.
So there were guards there. There definitely were, and as you see in that video there must have been a dozen of them with guns drawn, firing at what I presume was the target of the shooter. It wasn't that there was a lack of people, but you know, it was pretty loose with regard to how secure it was. The door I walked out, I came out every day with, you know, flashing and passing (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
BLITZER; And that explains why you, Josh, and so many others in the Parliament building right now remain seven, eight hours later still under lockdown. They're searching for someone else even as we speak. That's my assumption.
Josh Wingrove of "The Globe & Mail." We're going to stay in close touch with you. Good luck over there. Good luck to all the folks. We're going to stay on top of the breaking news.
And we're getting more information coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard fired shots. I happened to see the last four shots at the last second. All I remember was he was wearing a light fall jacket and jeans, black hat and boots. He was about 6 feet tall, and really, that was about it. And then a bunch of cops came up and down the street.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you see him do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot the -- I'm guessing was a Canadian armed forces soldier. He, um, I'm guessing he was standing at attention at the memorial, and yes, he shot him five times.
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BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. Shots rang out in Canada's capital. A soldier is killed at a war memorial. Then a gunman is shot dead inside the Parliament building in Ottawa. That forced the evacuation of the prime minister.
Lawmakers are in lockdown even as we speak right now. It's seven, eight hours after the incident. Schools have been shut down. Businesses as well as police continue to search for other possible suspects.
CNN's Paula Newton has been watching what's going on. You're very familiar, Paula. You know this area, Ottawa, very, very well. You're getting more information. What else are you picking up?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, they are still in the process of going door to door in that Parliament building, trying to make sure that there aren't any other suspects.
And at this point they are working very hard to determine exactly who the suspect is, who was killed, who was doing the shooting in the Parliament buildings and what exactly the origins are, what his background is.
Right now they are refusing to confirm anything. I was in contact with the prime minister's office. He remains at a secure location but is hoping to be able to make a statement in the next few hours.
Again, extraordinary events there on Parliament Hill, and Wolf, I've been in every corner and crevice of the building. You know, they try and strike a balance with the security. And the point was that they wanted to close it to cars to make sure that someone couldn't go up there with explosives, but they wanted to keep it fairly open for pedestrian traffic.
And right now, it is a game changer in Canada, and they will be looking at that kind of security.
In terms of the terror threat level that has been raised in Canada in the last few days, it went up to medium, precisely for the kind of chatter that they had been hearing about possible attacks, not just on Canadian targets, but also just on members of the public. And they have had a heightened awareness over the last few weeks -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And Paul, you heard Josh Wingrove of "The Globe & Mail" tell our viewers apparently this shooter just walked in through this doorway where Parliamentarians, accredited journalists go through. No metal detectors there, although there are law-enforcement officers on the scene. Just apparently walked right through or maybe ran right through. It's pretty shocking when you think about it.
HANCOCKS: Well, as I said, they tried to strike a balance, and in going through that door, I've walked through that door without getting screened before. As a journalist, you're prescreened; you can go through that door. Obviously, something they're going to visit -- revisit.
But the point is, as we were saying earlier, it is like the intruder in the White House. He would have had to storm through that door, as Josh was saying, going -- screaming down that hallway, 250 feet on either side. He would have a collection of MPs and senators, all the federal politicians collected in two rooms on either side. An incredibly tense situation, which is why authorities tell me they're not taking any chances. They want every corner of that Parliament building searched to make sure there is no other danger.
BLITZER: We know, Paula, the prime minister, Stephen Harper, is fine, but he's in that building, right? He was there at the time.
HANCOCKS: He was there at the time. I'm not exactly sure if he was on the room at the left. He would have had to be in that room on the left eventually, just a few paces from where the shooting took place, because they were having a caucus meeting. He was likely in his office just a few floors above. It's totally possible that he would have heard all of the shots being fired and then would have been spirited out on a plan that they would have gone over and over several times to make sure that they could get the prime minister to a secure location.
Definitely tense moments for the prime minister and everyone in that building. And as we've heard, those tense moments continue, because a lot of people in that building right now are wondering what's going on. They've been told to just keep calm and wait for the authorities to do their jobs.
BLITZER: Yes. Seven hours later, the lockdown in the Parliament building and elsewhere in Ottawa continues.
Paula, stand by.
Security, meanwhile, is being stepped up here in the United States, as well, in the wake of these Canadian shootings, and even U.S. air defenses are on heightened readiness.
Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is getting new information.
What are you learning, Barbara?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, earlier today the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint military command between the U.S. and Canada, made their move. They increased their alert level for Canadian aircraft in the Ottawa region, moving a number of aircraft closer to Ottawa to be ready to respond if they were going to need to do something to defend Canadian airspace.
That is how uncertain the situation has remained throughout the day, not really knowing what was going on and what measures might be needed. So they have been undergoing this review.
I can also tell you, this whole notion of potential inspired ISIS attacks. The U.S. Army issued an intelligence bulletin back in September warning U.S. military personnel to be cautious, to be careful, to be aware. ISIS uses social media. People get inspired by that. Lone-wolf attacks would be possible, something that they wanted everybody to be alert and look out for. Something that both Canadian military and U.S. military are so concerned about at this hour -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We know that the shooting incident occurred and the Canadian soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa right near the Parliament building. The U.S. has now stepped up security at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery right outside of Washington, D.C. Isn't that right?
STARR: Yes, you know, you can say it's out of an abundance of caution, but it is very startling to so many. This is Arlington National Cemetery, hallowed ground in the United States on the banks of the Potomac River. Four hundred thousand Americans visit Arlington Cemetery every year. It is likely the most visited tourist attraction for Americans and for citizens from all over the world who come to Washington.
The Tomb of the Unknowns. So many people have been there. There is that precision drill around the clock, 24/7 by the young Army personnel who guard the Tomb of the Unknowns and other military personnel who stand watch there.
Because the Canadian attack happened at their war memorial, the military moved this afternoon to increase security precautions here in Washington at that site. Again, an abundance of caution. No information about a direct threat, we are told, but still an indication of just how settling -- how unsettling this whole day has been -- Wolf.
BLITZER: They don't make a decision like that very easy either. I want you to stand by, Barbara.
Paula, stand by, as well. We're going to resume the breaking news coverage right after this.
BLITZER: We're covering the breaking news. Today deadly shootings in Canada. Police say the situation right now is fluid. It's ongoing; lockdowns at the Parliament building continue.
One gunman and one Canadian soldier are dead.
This is unfolding right in the heart of Canada's capital of Ottawa, only 45 miles or so from the U.S. border. CNN's Tom Foreman has a closer look at where the attacks took place -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. At about 9:50 this morning, witnesses say a gunman came around the corner of this building that houses the prime minister's office and opened fire on one of the honor guards at the National War Memorial right here.
Now, this site is revered by Canadians. It is visited by their officials and by visiting dignitaries where they place wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknowns there. It's also another site buried in poppies and flowers that people lay there. It's an important place.
In any event, after the shooting, where that soldier was killed, witnesses then say the gunman headed over this way and some say he actually hijacked a car and took it up here to the entrance of Parliament, the center building there of Parliament. This is also a national landmark, the Peace Tower. And he went in through this door according to witnesses.
There was shooting just inside the foyer, and then he moved more toward the back of the building, down this hallway, and there was more shooting there. A lot of shots fired when the security forces engaged him. And eventually, the sergeant-at-arms killed him back there right near the library in the back here.
But that wasn't the end of things, Wolf, precisely because of what you've been reporting. Authorities have been proceeding on the belief that there may be more than one gunman involved in all of this. So what followed was hours of rumors and searching. There were more reports of more shootings at a mall over in this area, and none of these proved to be true. But it was enough to force all kinds of government offices and businesses in this area to shut down, even bridges, as they went door to door, trying to find anybody else.
In fact, the Toronto Maple Leaves were in town for a hockey game. They were actually locked down in their hotel. That game has now been cancelled, and yet the search goes on to see if there might be anybody in this area who is somehow connected to that string of shootings over those few minutes this morning.
BLITZER: Now more than seven and a half hours after the shooting incident up on Parliament Hill, and there is a lockdown that remains in effect as they continue searching potentially for other suspects or a suspect. Tom Foreman, thanks for the explanation.
Joining us on the phone right now is Dr. Jim Worthington. He's the executive at the Ottawa hospital where the shooting victims are being treated.
Dr. Worthington, thanks so much for joining us. How many people are you treating right now? How many victims?
DR. JIM WORTHINGTON, OTTAWA HOSPITAL (via phone): Well, there were -- there were four -- four patients injured in this incident. The first patient succumbed to their injuries. The other three injuries were non-life-threatening. They're quite stable and still in the hospital.
BLITZER: Was the first person that -- who died the alleged shooter or was it the soldier?
WORTHINGTON: The -- I really can't get into specifics about the individual patients. I apologize about that, Wolf. But -- so I prefer to just keep this conversation at a very high level.
BLITZER: But one person did die at the hospital. Is that correct?
WORTHINGTON: That is correct. Yes.
BLITZER: So presumably, and you don't have to comment, obviously, about sensitive issues over there, so it's either the shooter or the soldier. We only know of two people who were killed in today's incident: the shooter and the Parliament and the soldier earlier at the National War Memorial, and if you want to answer this, go ahead.
Do you know of others who may have been killed today?
WORTHINGTON: To the best of our knowledge, no. All the victims of those injured as a result of this incident were coming to our hospital.
BLITZER: And the three injuries that you're treating, you say they're in good shape, these three people?
WORTHINGTON: Yes. They will be -- they should be fine. BLITZER: None life-threatening, but all -- but all the result of
WORTHINGTON: Two are gunshots. I'm sorry -- one other is a gunshot injury. The other two are not gunshot injuries.
BLITZER: What are -- are you bracing for more? What are the law- enforcement authorities telling the hospital, as far as possible other incidents or are you on stand-by? What's going on there?
WORTHINGTON: So we are still on standby. We have not been given the all-clear by our police, and we will continue this standby until we do receive that from the police.
BLITZER: has anything like this ever, in your recollection, happened in Ottawa before, Dr. Worthington?
WORTHINGTON: Not -- no, certainly not; not of this nature. It's a tragic event for the family and for the city.
BLITZER: Very tragic, indeed. Dr. Worthington, thank you so much. Thank you -- thanks to your staff, as well. I know you guys are working very, very hard.
Let's continue the breaking news right now. Joining us, our national security analyst, Peter Bergen; our law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes, who's a former FBI assistant director; and our CNN global affairs analyst, retired U.S. Lieutenant Colonel James Reese. Guys, thanks very much for going on.
You've been looking, studying terrorism for 20 years or so, Peter. What do you think? Does this have a feeling of a coordinated terrorist operation? Some sort of plot? Is it someone who is just -- may just have been inspired or just some nut?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think it's too early to tell. But I'll make the following observation. The estimates are a hundred Canadians have gone to fight in Syria. That's about the same number of Americans who we are estimating have gone to a fight in Syria, and the population of Canada, or at least a 20th of the size of the population of the United States.
So Canada has a relatively serious radicalization problem, given it's relatively small size of population. And as we saw the incident over the last 48 hours and now we see this. We still don't quite know what this is, but they could be linked.
BLITZER: Colonel Reese, you know what the sort of chain of events by U.S. officials -- and I've spoken with some of them -- are so concerned about what's going on in Canada.
Last week the Canadian government tells the United States government Canadian jet fighters, Canada will support the U.S. in these airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, to which there's a -- there's a message that goes out by an ISIS supporter named by Abu Khalid al-Kanadi. He's a convert to Islam, but he's a Canadian. He supports ISIS. He sends out a message proclaiming, he says, "Yes, my message is clear. Canada initiated attacks on the Islamic state, so Muslims in Canada retaliate and kill them wherever you find them."
On Friday, the Canadian government goes ahead and raises the threat level, maybe because of that, maybe because of other so-called chatter. On Monday, a Canadian soldier is gunned -- is basically driven over by a vehicle, by a convert Islam. Today we see what's going on. This is what raises the concern, this kind of pattern of activity.
LT. COL. JAMES REESE (RET.), CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Wolf, it does. What we've seen now over the last month is every time a western nation joins the coalition or commits forces to go in, you see this chatter coming out of ISIS. They take someone that they have moved in, a Canadian, an American, a Brit. They become the spokesmen. They challenge the country. That becomes a threat. And now, as you see, everyone starts raising their threat level, and it's a concern.
BLITZER: NORAD goes on a higher level alert right now. The Aerospace Defense System that the U.S. and Canada do jointly. The U.S. embassy not only in Ottawa is on alert. The Canadian here in Washington, D.C., on Pennsylvania Avenue, right near Capitol Hill, they're on lockdown right now. There's extra security at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
Explain what's going on here.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think, Wolf, that you know, once something like this happens, and it has happened in the past, especially now two incidents in Canada in a week. You know, it's going to raise the alert level for the U.S., for Canada both for other western countries, and I think that's, you know, a big part of this issue, is just to be ready and be in all situations.
I think the other -- what could be a possible lesson in the future is, if you're going to put people out there in military uniforms, their guns ought to have bullets in them these days, because they're going to be a target. And the people that march at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Canada and here in the United States, those guns are empty. It does them no good if somebody with this kind of motivation decides to gun them down.
BLITZER: Why do they even have guns if they're empty?
FUENTES: Well, they're ceremonial. They twirl them and march with them. You know, it looks like they're ready to go active duty, but they're not. They're -- they're in a ceremonial posture. The guns are empty.
BLITZER: I suspect that's going to change. I want everybody to stand by. Much more of the breaking news right after this.
BLITZER: Our breaking news, a gunman is shot dead inside Canada's parliament after a soldier was killed at a nearby National War Memorial. The violence left lawmakers in lockdown as police search for other possible assailants. The lockdown continuing now almost eight hours after the shooting.
It comes two days after a man whom Canadian authorities described as radicalized, killed another soldier with his car before being shot dead. There's no sign yet that the incidents are related.
Joining us now is Mubin Shaikh, he's a former jihadist, who went undercover infiltrating radical groups for Canadian intelligence.
Mubin, thanks very much for joining us. What's your take on what's going on in Canada right now?
MUBIN SHAIKH, FORMER JIHADIST: Well, we're obviously in shock and surprise and usual caveats apply. We don't know anything for certain, but speculation at this point is that it is, in fact, a terrorist attack.
BLITZER: And you think that it's related what happened today to what happened on Monday when there was that car killing of a Canadian soldier?
SHAIKH: That's right. Warrant Officer Vincent, 53 years old, a long time veteran. I do believe it's linked. It could be linked by way of inspiration or by way of, you know, planned at -- planned and directed.
BLITZER: When this ISIS supporter, this guy who calls himself Abu Khalid al-Kanadi, sends a message after Canada joined the U.S. in the air campaign against ISIS saying yes, my message is clear. Canada initiated attacks on the Islamic State so Muslims in Canada retaliate and kill them wherever you find them. Do authorities normally take a message like that seriously in Canada?
SHAIKH: Well, I mean, you know, I've tweeted back and forth with that individual. The problem is that Canadians haven't conducted any attacks militarily. So, I mean, you know, he's calling to retaliating these attacks which we haven't even conducted. And number two, I mean, these guys are -- they're always cheerleading, they're always talking like this. So that in and of itself wouldn't really trigger any kind of enhanced security precautions, but, you know, we're tempted to of course think that coming so soon after such statements.
BLITZER: Canada is now involved and deployed some jet fighters to Kuwait to start launching some support missions with the U.S., but they did announce last week they were joining the U.S.-led coalition in this war against ISIS and that apparently sparked this warning from Abu Khalid al-Kanadi.
You at one point in your life were part of that jihadi culture, but you changed course. You began working as an undercover operative for Canada's Intelligence Service so give us some perspective now on what's going on.
SHAIKH: Well, I mean, we keep asking why do these individuals become radicalized. You're hearing stories of 15, 16, 17-year-old girls going not just from recent case in Colorado but in Europe as well, Austria, two young 15-year-olds. I mean, they're living in a fantasy world. They really don't understand what awaits them on the other side especially for a lot of girls who, you know, they're the bad boys, right? A little bit of sex. A little bit of adventure. And trying to live a dream thinking that, you know, the caliphate is restored and now we're all going to go there and live happily ever after.
BLITZER: Mubin, I want you to stand by for one moment.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
BLITZER: Let's go to our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott. She's at the State Department.
Elise, you've learned important information?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: That's right, Wolf. Well, multiple U.S. officials are telling myself and some of our other colleagues, CNN's Deb Feyerick, Jim Sciutto, Pamela Brown, all telling us that the shooter's name has been identified by Canadian officials to them as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. He's a Canadian born -- Canadian born, Wolf, in 1982. 32-year-old Canadian man being named as the likely shooter today.
And what officials are saying is, he has a history of drug addiction and drug use before he converted to Islam. So we understand that he's an Islamic convert. This is obviously Michael Zehaf-Bibeau is an Arabic-Islamic type name. Officials say along the North African type of descent.
And that's really all they know at this point. Officials are saying that right now, this is all they know about his name. He was converted to Islam and had a history of drug addiction before he converted to Islam.
And the CDC, the Canadian Broadcasters, is reporting that this gentleman had some convictions of drug use and drug dealings before he was converted to Islam, dating back about 10 years, Wolf.
BLITZER: Was his name Michael Zehaf-Bibeau before he converted to Islam or is that his new name?
LABOTT: We understand that's his new name. But that's the name that officials are using right now, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32-year-old from -- from Canada.
BLITZER: And U.S. officials, sources are telling you that he is a Canadian citizen, is that right? LABOTT: Canadian citizen, born in Quebec in 1982. And that raises
the question, Wolf, whether this gentleman had any connection to mainstream Islamic groups. There's no indication U.S. officials are telling us so far. But that perhaps he was one of their -- calling such as these lone wolves in Canada. But there is a concern now, especially with this gentleman, this Islamic convert named that this was an act of Islamic extremism.
What officials are saying is they don't know if some of these attacks earlier in the week, the attacks today are linked together. Were all these people working together? There's no indication that they were right now, but certainly they can't rule it out -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. Because the vehicle killing of that Canadian soldier on Monday was also orchestrated by a Canadian who converted to Islam, as well.
Stand by for a moment. I want to bring back Mubin Shaikh. He's a former jihadist, now a counterterrorism operative for the Canadian Intelligence Service.
Let me get, Mubin, your reaction to what we just learned from Elise.
SHAIKH: Just a quick correction. I'm no longer active with the service. But we did actually learn the name, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Zehaf I believe is Algerian. He was arrested in Montreal for various drug possession offenses. And against another case of converts, converts who a lot of them who come from troubled backgrounds, in fact. And convert to Islam, it could be in prison, it could be at the hands of extremist individuals.
And for a lot of these converts, it's a way for them to -- you know, fix their life, salvation. You know, they've come from a screwed up background and you know, if a Muslim tells you, look, when you convert, all your past sins are forgiven. For a lot of them, it's an attempt towards salvation.
BLITZER: We're told, and Mubin, you probably know this better than I do, that this Abu Khalid al-Kanadi, the spokesman for ISIS, he also is a Canadian who converted to Islam. But then he actually made the trek over to Syria and is working with ISIS right now. So there seems to be a pattern as far as I can tell. But give me your analysis.
SHAIKH: Yes, I mean, he's a West Indian convert of Caribbean background. And again these are individuals who don't know the religion. They've just converted or they're very, very new to the religion. And they want to be instant scholars. They want to be instant heroes. Instead of doing the hard work like everyone else does and study the religion properly, that's what I did.
That's what got me out of my extremist mindset. So it makes perfect sense that individuals completely ignorant to the faith, looking to become instant heroes, this is -- you know, these are the kinds of things that they do.
BLITZER: It's a pretty worrisome development, Peter Bergen. Let me get your thoughts.
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. I mean, we've seen in the United States a number of people who converted from Christianity to Islam who then become, you know, senior terrorists. I'm give you an example. Omar Hammami who was one of the leaders of al-Shabab from Daphne, Alabama, was Baptist growing up and over time he sort of al-Shabab, which is an al Qaeda affiliate. So we see that as a relatively common fact.
BLITZER: The FBI now has been given the name -- a few hours ago, the FBI, Tom, was given the name of this shooter who is now dead. His name we have now identified, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. I hope I'm pronouncing it correctly.
What can the FBI do to help Canada in getting information about this guy? He's a Canadian citizen. Not a U.S. citizen.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, they'll be looking at any and all connections he may have had. Did he visit the United States? Has he an e-mail contact, telephone contact? Twitter, Facebook, any of the social media contacts with people in the U.S. that may have a better understanding of him and his background?
This would have been something that the Canadians would have shared with the U.S. immediately upon their getting his name.
BLITZER: Colonel, were you surprised the Canadian parliament apparently didn't stiffen its security in the wake of what was going on?
LT. COL. JAMES REESE (RET.), CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, that's surprising. You would figure that we're going to put out an alert that -- you know, that law enforcement agencies would stiffen up. But, you know, Tom and I talked before, you know, we're starting to get numbed to these across, both the U.S., Canada, the West. We're starting to get numbed to these alerts, and people just kind of move through their day.
BLITZER: All right. Everybody, stand by. Much more on the breaking news coming up right after this.