Ottawa shooting: Reporter Josh Wingrove caught dramatic scene on video

Globe and Mail reporter Josh Wingrove drew on his hostile environment training for an earlier Afghanistan assignment when he found himself witness to a gun battle Wednesday on Parliament Hill. His dramatic video is a riveting account of a deadly assault inside the Centre Block, home of the House of Commons and Senate.

Reporter was waiting for Conservative caucus meeting to start when shots rang out

Ottawa shooting: Reporter films gunman opening fire

9 years ago
Duration 4:18
Globe & Mail reporter Josh Wingrove whipped out his camera when the Ottawa shooter opened fire inside Parliament

Globe and Mail reporter Josh Wingrove did hostile environment training before he went to Afghanistan in 2010, but he never expected to use it in Ottawa.

The Ottawa journalist was waiting for Conservative MPs to enter their weekly caucus meeting in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill on Wednesday when he heard gunshots fired nearby.

The video he shot moments later now is the most dramatic look Canadians have of the chaos that ensued when a single gunman entered the building and opened fire.

Wingrove had ducked into an alcove to file after reporters interviewed Justice Minister Peter MacKay about the government's new anti-terrorism bill, which was supposed to have been tabled that afternoon.

He heard the shots from there.

"You don't immediately think gunfire because you think that's so unlikely," Wingrove said in a telephone interview from where he was locked down on the Hill.

"My first thought was that a bookshelf or something large had fallen because we just heard a big bang."

'Unbelievable amount of shots fired'

He looked around the corner and "saw people fleeing and any doubt was obviously erased."

Wingrove said he could smell gunpowder and tried to recall the hostile environment training he'd had almost five years ago, which included how to minimize exposure to gunfire. He says he didn't really think about what he was doing, and expects to be upbraided by his fiancée.

Globe and Mail reporter Josh Wingrove was inside Parliament waiting for Conservative MPs to arrive at their weekly caucus meeting when shots rang out, and Wingrove's hostile environment training kicked in. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

"There's pillars, there's alcoves, there's a lot of cover so I sort of used one of the pillars as cover for myself while shooting the video," Wingrove said.

The Conservative caucus was meeting on the west side of the hallway where guards were chasing the gunman, with the Opposition NDP meeting in a large committee room on the opposite side.

"The guards moved forward and that sort of led to what you see in that video, which is the final gunfight in front of the Library of Parliament," Wingrove said.

"It was an unbelievable amount of shots fired that led to a sort of motionless body on the ground that I saw before being literally forced, pushed away by the cops."

Those left in Centre Block have since been locked down in rooms around the building. Some don't have their smartphones, meaning they haven't been able to call their loved ones.

Wingrove says he texted his parents and fiancée as soon as he could, though at that point it seemed the emergency was over and that they wouldn't be locked down for much longer.

By the end of the afternoon, he said, the adrenaline was gone and the people with whom he was sequestered were stressed and starting to get hungry.

The lockdown on Parliament Hill was still in place Wednesday evening.