Flags lowered to half mast in Telkwa Wednesday.

MPs barricaded in after Ottawa attack

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen tells what happened after gunman entered the hallway outside the room he was in at Parliament Hill

An attack by at least one gunman in Ottawa Wednesday morning has left one soldier at a war memorial dead, and government officials in lock down. A shooter was shot and killed by security inside the Centre Block of Parliament.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen was with NDP caucus colleagues and staff in a room at the Centre Block of Parliament getting ready for a radio interview, when a gunman entered the hallway.

“It sounded more like garbage can lids being smashed together. I’ve heard gunshots before but… It’s a very large marble hallway,” said Cullen, who started to leave the room to see the commotion but was stopped by security coming in the room.

“Once I saw the security officer’s face, I realized it’s not something usual.”

The caucus room of the government and opposition was barricaded. Cullen said he and his colleagues were moved to a secure room and had been there for close to five hours when he spoke with The Interior News just after noon Pacific Time. It was after the move to a secure room that Cullen was able to call family and let everyone know he was okay.

Government offices and Cullen’s constituency offices have been closed out of what he described as “abundance of caution”.

“Mr. Mulcair has spoken to Mr. Harper earlier to have a reassuring conversation, and talked about us getting back to work as soon as possible, which I think is right. But it is a pretty incredible situation,” said Cullen.

The MP added that counselling would be made available to staff to deal with the shock of the situation.

“For those who haven’t experienced this kind of thing, it can be unsettling. I’m thinking about the soldier who died’s family right now. That’s just performing a ceremonial duty there. To have this happen to him is a real tragedy,” said Cullen.

“We need to have a truly Canadian reaction to this, which is strength, calm and acceptance, and understanding.”