GATINEAU, Quebec (AP) - A man fatally shot another man then killed himself at a day-care centre in Quebec on Friday, prompting authorities to evacuate the children as terror-stricken parents and guardians to scramble to retrieve their kids.
Gatineau Police Chief Mario Haren said all 53 children were safe and unharmed, and police would not say whether any of them had witnessed the killings.
Mr Haren said police received a call about an armed man with a shotgun threatening people. They arrived to find the man dead with a shotgun beside him and a second, unidentified employee of the day care, also dead. He said the shooting seems to be related to a recent separation between a couple.
"We have two deceased. One of the males is responsible for this shooting. The other male works at this day-care centre," Haren said. "Right now we're investigating that this was related to a recent separation between a couple."
The day-care centre sits across the street from a hospital in this Quebec city, just across the river from Ottawa.
Sergeant Jean-Paul LeMay said the shooting happened at two houses that serve as a day-care centre. He said police received a report of a shooting in the morning.
Mr LeMay said the kids were safe at a nearby house. He would not release details on who was killed or if the kids witnessed the shooting.
Terror-stricken parents and guardians scrambled to retrieve their children. It wasn't immediately clear how much of the incident might have transpired in front of the kids. One parent called it terrifying and said it was every parent's worst nightmare.
The shooting initially raised fears of a far worse incident in Quebec, where memories are still fresh from the December massacre of 20 children and six educators in a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school.