Montreal campus gunman is identified
MONTREAL: The man who killed a student at a junior college Wednesday in Montreal and shot 19 other people described himself on Web sites as obsessed with guns and predicted that his epitaph would read: "Lived fast died young. Left a mangled corpse," according to news reports.
Several newspapers this morning identified the man who died after exchanging shots with police as Kimveer Gill. A number of Web sites today removed postings attributed to him.
At a briefing this morning at Montreal General Hospital, which treated 11 patients, doctors said that six were in critical condition, including two who were described as "extremely critical."
"We fear for the lives of some of the patients," said Dr. Tarek Razek, who heads the hospital's trauma unit. Dr. Razek said that two of them have gunshot wounds to the head, while most of the others were shot in the abdomens.
The patients there ranged from 17 to 48 years old, and included six men and five women.
Theshooting brought chaos and fear to the core of Canada's second largest city as major thoroughfares were closed, office towers were evacuated and subway service was disrupted. It also evoked bitter memories of a shooting in 1989 at another downtown college where 14 women died before the gunman killed himself.
Montreal police said the department received the first call about the shooting at Dawson College during lunch, at 12:41 p.m. Several witnesses reported seeing the man start shooting students near an entrance without a word or provocation.
As the police arrived, witnesses said, he entered the building, continuing to fire randomly as he made his way toward a crowded cafeteria. The TVA television network broadcast a video recording from a cell-phone camera showing the gunman exchanging fire with the police inside the college.
An estimated 5,000 students either fled the campus or barricaded themselves inside classrooms.
Despite the early arrival of the police, the school and the neighborhood around it - an affluent, largely English-speaking district - fell into confusion with herds of people fleeing along streets and pouring out of a shopping mall. Like much of downtown Montreal, the college is connected to a network of underground walkways that also feeds into the subway system. In what appeared to be a bid to prevent the escape of the gunman, a major subway line was closed for part of the afternoon.
Simon Davies, who teaches film studies at the college, said he had heard a student shouting about the shooting in a hallway and then saw him run past with a bloodied face.
"I went out to the hallway, I went around the corner and saw a policeman run by with his gun drawn and heard more gunshots," he said. "I thought, 'This is foolish, I shouldn't be here.' " A panic grew among students in a screening room for two film classes as an overloaded cellphone network made calling impossible.
Another film studies teacher, Dipti Gupta, said her students had carried a badly wounded woman in from the hallway and rested her on a desk.
Adding to the panic were rumors, later disproved, that more than one gunman was stalking the campus.
The woman died in a hospital during the early evening. Police identified her as Anastasia De Souza, an 18-year-old woman from Montreal, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
The Sûreté de Québec, the provincial police force, which investigates all killings involving municipal officers, did not disclose the gunman's name. But it said he was 25, born in Quebec and a Montreal-area resident. The force said an autopsy was necessary to determine if he was killed by police bullets.
Delorme said the motive for the shooting spree was a mystery, adding, "There is no racist connotation or no terrorist link as far as we know."
The newspapers that identifiedGill as the killer say that he posted several chilling comments and photos, which were removed early this morning, on vampirefreaks.com, a Goth Web site. They include images of him putting on a long black coat and holding a semi-automatic rifle.
"I think I have an obbsetion with guns ... muahahaha," he wrote underneath a photo in which he is aiming the rifle is aimed at the camera.
One ofGill's blog postings is a tombstone with his name and the inscription: "Lived fast died young. Left a mangled corpse."
According to news accounts,Gill lived in the Montreal suburb of Laval.
The 1989 killings at the École Polytechnique, an engineering school, were by a man who blamed women for his financial and career problems. The shock that followed those killings prompted a national new gun registry law that was unpopular in rural areas. The Conservative government that came to power in January is winding down that registry in favor of longer mandatory sentences for gun-related crimes.
Christopher Mason contributed reporting from Toronto.