Updated at: 04/09/2013 7:05 PM
(AP) GATINEAU, Quebec - A man shot dead another man at a day care center in Quebec then killed himself, and the 53 children present were evacuated unharmed. Police said some may have watched the killings.
For a moment, Canada feared its own version of last year’s deadly school shooting in the U.S., where 20 young children were killed.
Police on Friday received a call about an armed man with a shotgun threatening people, Gatineau Police Chief Mario Harel said. They arrived to find one man dead with a shotgun beside him and a second man, an unidentified employee of the day care, also dead.
Harel said the shooting seemed to be related to a recent separation between a couple but didn’t elaborate.
The Racines De Vie Montessori daycare is located in two homes, and Sergeant Jean-Paul LeMay said police found a body in each one. LeMay said the children were safe at a nearby house.
Police were investigating the link between the men and the possibility of domestic violence, LeMay said. He wouldn’t say if either was linked to a child at the day care.
Police speculated that some children likely witnessed the killings.
"It’s a small area, it’s a close space," said Harel. "For sure, they should have been witness (to) the event."
Parents sobbed and hugged while they waited for investigators to bring them to their children.
Omar Eltalawi rushed to the scene from his nearby home as soon as he heard about the shooting, fearful for his 3-year-old daughter, Zain.
"It was horrible," Eltalawi said as he described the fear of not knowing what was going on inside the day care. "You see these things on the news and you don’t expect it to happen to you."
Gatineau city is just across the river from Ottawa, the capital.
Associated Press Writer Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)