Ottawa

Ottawa shooting: Residents react to Wednesday's dramatic events

Ottawa residents face the task of processing the dramatic events that led to the shooting death of a soldier on Wednesday, as police try to piece together what exactly happened.

Police investigation into deadly shootings continues as Ottawa gets back to business

People gathered at the National War Memorial throughout Thursday to pay tribute to fallen reservist shot in an attack a day earlier. 3:50

Ottawa residents face the task of processing the dramatic events that led to the shooting death of a soldier Wednesday, as police try to piece together what exactly happened.

We were always so cushioned, it seemed, and now we're part of all that chaos.- Valerie Bell, Ottawa resident

Valerie Bell, who was born and raised in Ottawa, works just steps away from the National War Memorial — where the shooting started.

"I'm very sad, walking up here today. I'm very sad for that gentleman; trying not to cry on my way to work," she said early Thursday morning, before sunrise, referring to the soldier who died in Wednesday's shootings in the Nation's Capital.

"Things are going to change. I walk down this street every day at this time of day. My gosh, Ottawa is beautiful, it's calm, we're safe. Well, that feeling is a little bit gone.

Valerie Bell works just steps away from the National War Memorial, where a soldier was shot and killed on Wednesday morning. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)
"I think it can happen anywhere now. We did think we were safe, because we've never had to deal with this. ... We were always so cushioned, it seemed, and now we're part of all that chaos. And hopefully people aren't going to be so afraid and not know what to do, that we can still stay strong and be smart about it. ... It's an awakening."

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, was shot while on honorary guard at the war memorial. Ottawa police announced hours later that he had died. The suspected gunman was shot dead inside Parliament nearby.

Bell, like many other workers in downtown Ottawa, spent much of Wednesday in lockdown with her colleagues as the chaotic and tragic events unfolded.

"You couldn't leave, you couldn't get to your car. It was just, not fun. But I'm also grateful that they did do the lockdown, that they reacted so quick, that the streets were bare," she said.

"At the same time, we're watching the commotion on our computers. Nobody could work. It's not time to work. ... We cried. We cried. We were all sitting together around one computer, and just watching what was going on, and just being there for each other."

Poll question

'It was pretty surreal,' says nurse

Sharon Bedard, a nurse at the Ottawa Hospital's General campus, spent much of Wednesday in lockdown at the hospital, and watched as police and military personnel escorted Cirillo's body into the hospital for an autopsy.

"It was pretty surreal. I never thought anything like that would happen in Canada," she said.

But Bedard said she won't be intimidated.

"I think Ottawa is still a very safe city. I'm not worried whatsoever to come downtown. My kids didn't want to go to school today, so I called them in sick, but other than that, I'm still going to work," Bedard said.

"I'm not going to let some lone person try to scare me into not doing what I need to do for my family and my city. Ottawa is still a safe place and it always will be, no matter what they try and do to not make it safe. Ottawa will recover, like it has done in the past, and we always will."

Live blog