WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama called the shootings in Ottawa on Wednesday “tragic” and said they reinforced the need for vigilance against acts of violence and terrorism.
U.S. officials said there was no specific indication of a similar attack in the United States, but reinforced warnings to Americans to be alert.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Obama said he did not have information on the motive behind the shooting or whether the gunman who was involved in an incident in which a flurry of shots were fired inside the Canadian parliament was part of a broader network.
But he pledged the United States and Canada would work together: “It’s very important, I think, for us to recognize that when it comes to dealing with terrorist activity, that Canada and the United States (have) to be entirely in sync.”
Obama offered U.S. assistance in a telephone call with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was in parliament when the shooting occurred, the White House said.
U.S. officials said there were no specific indications of a similar impending attack in the United States.
Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman Paul Bresson said FBI field offices and other government agencies had been reminded to “remain vigilant in light of recent calls for attacks against government personnel by terrorist groups and like-minded individuals.”
A Department of Homeland Security official said there had been no indication that the events in Canada indicated a threat to the United States.
Unspecified extra security was authorized at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, the nation’s most hallowed tomb where ceremonial guards mount a constant watch, a Defense Department official said.
The incident in Ottawa began when a soldier was shot and fatally wounded at Canada’s National War Memorial near parliament.
(The story was refiled to clarify details of shooting in paragraph 3)
Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by David Storey and Richard Chang