News Canada

Two men dead in daycare shooting

By Danielle Bell, Michael Aubry, Ottawa Sun

GATINEAU, Que. -- Two men died Friday in a hail of gunfire inside two home daycares in Gatineau, Que., on the other side of the river from Ottawa.

Police say a man armed with a shotgun barged in just before 10:30 a.m. and opened fire, striking a worker, who later died in hospital.

The gunman later turned the shotgun on himself.

The "recent separation" of a couple is believed to have sparked the shooting, say police.

"Our thoughts are with the families and all the people that were touched by these tragic events," police chief Mario Harel said.

Daycare staff rushed to evacuate the premises of the Racines de vie Montessori when the shots rang out. Police said there were 53 children, all under the age of 5, at the daycares at the time.

Police praised the quick action of daycare staff for keeping the children safe.

Terrified parents arrived moments later.

"I've never been scared like that in my life," said Genevieve, a parent who raced to the scene to pick up her child.

Children were kept safe in a city bus guarded by police near the two neighbouring daycares at 225 and 229 Gamelin St.

No children were injured, police said.

The bodies of the shooter and the victim were found in separate homes.

The victim is believed to be a male daycare worker who was inside the home at the time.

Witnesses say the female owner of the daycare was separated from her husband, who may have been the shooter.

A neighbour was relieved to see the owner walk out of the daycare unscathed.

"She's such a nice lady," said Michelle Leveille, who lives next door. "She didn't seem physically hurt, but she looked shaken.

"There's no words. Truly a tragedy."

One person was taken to hospital and treated for shock.

Police hadn't released the names of the deceased Friday afternoon pending notification of their families.

Dave Sugden was on his way to Ottawa when he heard news of the shooting on the radio. His daughter, Hazel, 4, was at the daycare.

"I was terrified. I almost threw up in the car on the way over," he told QMI Agency.

Police say there is no threat to public safety, but their investigation continues.

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