Canada shooting leaves four dead including two cops as Fredericton, New Brunswick is placed on lockdown
Terrified residents have told how they heard gunfire around breakfast time this morning – just before the city was put on total lockdown.
The Fredericton Police Twitter account reveals: "An incident has resulted in at least four people killed." They later tweeted they had a man in custody, adding that two officers were among the dead.
It is not clear if there is more than one shooter feared to be involved.
Police are still urging people to "stay in their homes with doors locked at this time for their safety" and to avoid the area of Brookside Drive between Main and Ring Road.
A local journalist reported that four shots were heard at around 8.20am (12.20pm UK time) in the city, which is the capital of New Brunswick.
An armoured police vehicle was reported at the scene and terrified local residents were spotted being led away to safety by armed cops.
Firefighters and paramedics have also been deployed to the scene, Canadian broadcaster CBC reported.
A worker at a nearby Tim Hortons coffee and doughnut shop revealed staff had locked the doors so customers can't get in or out amid the police activity outside.
Local Christopher Gill told how he woke up to a number of police officers and the sound of gunshots outside his apartment on Brookside Drive.
He said: "I looked out the window and there were three police cars on the street just across from where I live.
"I saw one cop just standing against the building … like he was waiting for somebody to come out."
Robert DiDiodato lives on Oakland Avenue, which connects to Brookside Drive along the city's north side was also caught up in the drama.
He said he heard a series of "firecracker" sounds early this morning.
He told CBC: "With the tempo, it might've been a gunshot.
"It was sort of like a pop, pop, pop, pop."
About five minutes later, he said he could hear similar noises near his home.
Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais says he had spoken to Fredericton Police Force’s chief to offer any support they need.
Chris Collins, Speaker of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly, tweeted: "In light of the horrible news coming out of Fredericton, I have ordered all flags to half mast on Legislative grounds."
Dr Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital is now on high alert and "is prepared to receive any victims."
Fredericton is an important cultural, artistic, and educational centre for the province and is home to two universities.
In 2014, another mass shooting in New Brunswick led to the deaths of three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers and the wounding of two more in Moncton.
At the time, the incident was one of the worst of its kind in Canada, where gun laws are stricter than in the US and deadly attacks on police are rare.
Last month, a gunman walked down a busy Toronto street, killing two people and wounding 13 before turning his gun on himself.
On Thursday, Ontario pledged more money for police and to keep suspects behind bars while they await trial on gun crimes charges.
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