Hostage-Taker Turns Canada’s Parliament Hill into War Zone With AM-Canada-Bus
OTTAWA (AP) _ Journalist Marjorie Nichols walked out of a building on Parliament Hill on Friday afternoon and heard to her astonishment a member of Parliament shouting at her, ″Look out, you’re in the line of fire 3/8″
Moments before, she had gazed out from the Center Block and saw people leaving a bus.
″Sort of walking, running in a crouched position,″ she told reporters later. ″People were escorting them in a crouched position like you see in war movies.″
When she walked out of the building, she saw men lying prone on the ground, men in street clothes with guns drawn.
And then Bill Blaikie, a burly member of Parliament from Winnipeg, was yelling at her to get out of there before she was hit by a bullet.
It was no movie.
A gunman had hostages in a bus on the Parliament Hill lawn and shots already had been fired.
Nicholas, a columnist for the Ottawa Citizen, and the politicians, staff and visitors in the gothic Parliament Buildings were in a combat zone.
″It was one of those things where somebody shouts, ‘There have been shots 3/8’ and I thought, ’My God, I heard that.‴
Her reaction was common among the people working in the Parliament Buildings who were soon told of the hostage-taking outside.
Many had taken no notice of the shots they heard.
″I heard a gunshot and that made me look out,″ said a receptionist in the office of Sen. Stanley Haidasz. ″You know, you hear all the noise all the time and you don’t pay much attention. But it sounded peculiar.″
The receptionist refused to give her name.
Police hurried visitors and some employees out of the building. They told many employees not to leave the Parliament Buildings and to stay away from windows as the area was being cordoned off.
″One of our security men just came in and asked us to leave and he said: ’Because he has fired another shot. We’ve got to get out of here,‴ said Terry Kealey, a staff member in Grains Minister Charlie Mayer’s office, in a phone interview.
About two hours later, the employees were ushered out by security guards.
Those in the main building were led through a tunnel to a nearby building, then escorted out amid the hundreds of spectators who had gathered on nearby sidewalks.
Parliament members sitting in the Commons were informed by the sergeant-at- ar ms about the gunman. They left when the building was cleared.
Blaikie, a New Democrat member of Parliament, said he was standing on the front step of the Parliament Buildings waiting for a cab when he noticed a police cruiser drive across the lawn.
Moments later, officers motioned to people to get down, Blaikie said, and he ″decided maybe it was time to get out of there.″