OTTAWA, Ontario (CBS News/CBSDC/AP) — A soldier standing guard at Canada’s National War Memorial in Ottawa was fatally shot by an unknown gunman, who was later killed in a shootout inside the Parliament building, police say.

Witnesses said the gunman was carrying a rifle, and described dozens of shots ringing out in the Parliament building.

The Parliament itself remains on lockdown. Royal Canadian Mounted Police warned people in downtown Ottawa to stay away from windows and rooftops.

The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa is on lockdown.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday that President Barack Obama has been briefed on the shooting and that the president has spoken with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

NORAD has increased its “alert posture” following the shooting. CNN reports that the FBI is also raising its “alert posture.”

“NORAD taking appropriate and prudent steps to ensure adequate posture to respond quickly to any incidents involving aviation in Canada,” NORAD tweeted.

Ottawa police Constable Marc Soucy said it was unclear whether there was more than one shooter. Some witnesses report multiple assailants.

Officials say shots were also fired near the Rideau Center, a shopping mall near Parliament. All three sites – the National War Memorial, Parliament and the mall – are within less than a mile from each other.

“Most of downtown Ottawa is in lockdown,” Soucy said.

People fled Parliament by scrambling down scaffolding erected for renovations, witnesses told the Canadian Press news agency. The top spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Harper was safe and had left Parliament Hill.

Cabinet minister Tony Clement tweeted that at least 30 shots were heard inside the building, where Conservative and Liberal MPs were holding their weekly caucus meetings.

“Shots fired inside centre block during our caucus meeting. I’m safe locked in a office awaiting security.” Kyle Seeback, a member of Parliament, tweeted.

Emergency responders are still on the scene and paramedics took the wounded soldier away in an ambulance.

Ottawa police confirmed they had a call at 9:52 a.m. Wednesday with a report of shots fired, and witnesses reported seeing a gunman running toward Parliament Hill, which is under lockdown. Others on the Hill told Canadian Press they heard shots being fired in several different corridors.

The top spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Harper was safe and had left Parliament Hill.

Emergency responders are still on the scene and paramedics took the wounded soldier away in an ambulance.

Wednesday night’s game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators has been postponed.

The incident comes just two days after two Canadian soldiers were run over – and one of them killed – in Quebec by a man with jihadist sympathies.

That suspect, 25-year-old Martin Couture Rouleau, was shot by police, and later died.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman David Falls said Monday that the suspect “was known to federal authorities” and “authorities were concerned that he had become radicalized.”

The case is similar to one in London last year in which an al Qaeda-inspired extremist and another man ran over a soldier with a car before hacking the off-duty soldier to death. Images of Michael Adebolajo, 29, holding a butcher knife and cleaver with bloodied hands in the moments after the May 2013 killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby shocked people around the world and sparked fears of Islamist terrorism in Britain.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has urged supporters to carry out attacks against Western countries, including Canada, that are participating in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militants who have taken over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. It was not known whether the suspect in the Quebec attack had any ties to Islamic militant groups.

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