A home in Ottawa's south end usually filled with children and laughter was bound by yellow police tape Tuesday following a grisly shooting that's left an Ottawa woman fighting for her life in hospital.

Neighbour Zouheir Abdul-Hussein was first on the scene after one of Cathleen Lavoie's three children called for his help at about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.

"I walked in and saw her on the couch. And her neck was wrapped with a T-shirt and there was blood all over the place," he told CTV Ottawa.

Police and emergency crews arrived at Lavoie's housing complex on Marlin Private shortly after the woman's children called Hussein. When they arrived, officers found the woman suffering from a gunshot wound to her neck.

Police take man into custody

"We attended the scene. The ambulance were also there. The ambulance transported a female of the age of 44 to the hospital with a gunshot wound," said Const. Jean-Paul Vincelette of the Ottawa police.

Police say a man who was also at the scene was taken into custody. Neighbours have identified him as Lavoie's boyfriend of a few months.

"They just handcuffed him and put him in the car. And he said to Joe -- the eldest -- do you know I still love your mom?" neighbour Sue Jones told CTV Ottawa.

Woman nicknamed 'Mary Poppins'

Neighbours described Lavoie as a well-known member of the tight-knit community, who is nicknamed "Mary Poppins" for her English accent and caring nature towards neighbourhood children.

"She's a very nice mother. And not just for her children, she was taking care of most of the children in the neighbourhood," said Hussein.

Lavoie remains at the Ottawa Hospital's Civic Campus in serious condition.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua