Student killed in Montreal shooting rampage
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CTV.ca News Staff
Date: Wed. Sep. 13 2006 11:28 PM ET
A gunman with a Mohawk haircut and black clothing opened fire inside Montreal's Dawson College on Wednesday, killing one woman and wounding 19 others.
Police had earlier believed there were as many as four gunmen, as shots reportedly continued to be heard.
The 20-year-old female victim died in hospital from her wounds. Five people admitted to Montreal General Hospital remain in critical condition, four are listed in serious condition and two are stable.
"They are all young students, young adults, in their early 20s," Dr. Francoise Chagnon, director of professional services, told CTV Newsnet. Five are male and six female.
CTV's Jed Kahane said police received a call about the shooting just before 1 p.m. EDT. Gunfire erupted at 12:41 and continued for about 30 minutes.
A police officer outside the college saw the gunman enter the building, and police quickly arrived at the scene. The 25-year-old suspect was shot dead as he tried to leave the school.
Police have not identified the shooter, but a spokesman said he was armed with three weapons, likely including a semi-automatic rifle. He was also described as a young resident of Quebec.
Panicked students described a scene of chaos and violence, as people fled or hid from the shooter.
"He shot right at us. And when he shot at us we jumped and ran the other way," said student Ali Hussein. He added that one bullet struck a wall close to where he was standing.
Dawson College is located at the corner of Atwater and Sherbrooke in the heart of downtown Montreal.
One student captured a cellphone video of police officers inside the school with their guns drawn, trying to talk to the gunman. Someone then shouts to evacuate the building.
Students told Kahane they saw someone roaming the halls with a gun, and heard at least 20 shots fired.
One student told Montreal radio station 940 News she was on the phone at the college's front entrance when she heard five gunshots and a window breaking. She walked into the hallway and was inches from the gunman.
"All of a sudden I turned around and saw a man dressed in black with a huge assault rifle," she said. "People didn't know what was going on ... they thought it was a joke."
The man ran into the corner of the cafeteria to hide from police, she said.
A number of officers surrounded the school with guns drawn, while others helped to evacuate students from inside the English-language CEGEP school which has about 10,000 students. Most are between the ages of 16 and 18.
Gary Clemence, a psychology teacher, said the college is "usually a really quiet, peaceful place. No problems, no knives, anything."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the shooting "cowardly" and a "senseless act of violence.
"On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their loved ones, and to the students and staff of the college who are all victims of this terrible tragedy," Harper said in a statement.
Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay said Canadians should reach out to the victims.
"This is so tragic. How do we talk to the parents who are going through this? All I can say is that I feel for them, and I care for them," he told Newsnet.
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Today's incident is horrifyingly reminiscent of another school shooting in Montreal. On Dec. 6, 1989, Marc Lepine killed 14 engineering students at the Ecole Polytechnique.
The mass murder prompted tighter gun laws, which included the creation of the controversial national firearms registry. It also prompted Parliament to create the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in 1991, to coincide with the anniversary of the tragedy.
During Wednesday's shooting, some students and teachers barricaded themselves in classrooms, waiting for police to rescue them.
As many as 40 students and staff hid on the seventh floor, including eyewitness Adam Perez, who spoke to CTV Newsnet.
"No one came to really warn us," said Perez. "Our first warning of the incident (came from) phone calls and text messages."
One student told 940 News she saw two people who had been shot, including one who had been hit in the neck. The student said a friend told her four people had been shot.
Michel Boyer, a student at the college, told CTV Newsnet he saw the gunman in a hallway leading to the cafeteria.
"I saw the gunman who was dressed in black and at that time he was shooting at people. It was probably one of the most frightening moments of my life," he said.
Images captured from a helicopter hovering over the scene showed hordes of students running frantically from the building.
A number of police vehicles surrounded what appeared to be a blood-soaked sidewalk outside the school, and several yellow ambulance vehicles were seen speeding from the scene after victims were carried from the building on stretchers and loaded in the vehicles.
Family members of Dawson College students seeking more information can call (514) 280-2880 or (514) 280-2806.
Concerned family members can call a special hotline at the hospital: 514-843-2839.
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Good move!!! There are too many special interest groups with their hands out. How can the Government be expected to fund them all?? Just because they've had funding before doesn't mean they should get it for life. Time for a bit of restraint.