Gunman wounds 20 at Montreal college - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

Gunman wounds 20 at Montreal college

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Posted: Wednesday, September 13, 2006 1:17 pm | Updated: 3:08 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

MONTREAL - A gunman in a black trench coat and sporting a mohawk haircut opened fire Wednesday at a Montreal college and wounded at least 20 people - six critically - before he apparently was killed by police, witnesses and authorities said.

Scores of panicked students at Dawson College near downtown fled into the surrounding streets after the shooting broke out at the school of about 10,000. Some had clothes stained with blood.

Police spokesman Ean Lafreniere said there was just one gunman at the school and the search for any others was over.

Although police initially suggested the gunman had killed himself, Police Director Yvan DeLorme later said at a news conference that "based on current information, the suspect was killed by police."

CBC-TV showed police with guns drawn standing behind a police cruiser as a SWAT team swarmed the 12-acre campus. A bloody body covered in a yellow sheet lay next to a police cruiser near an entrance to a school building.

Montreal General Hospital said 11 people were admitted, including six who were in critical condition. The other nine were taken to two other hospitals.

Witnesses said a man wearing a black trench coat entered the school cafeteria and opened fire wordlessly.

Derick Osei, 19, said he was walking down the stairs to the second-floor cafeteria when he saw a man with a gun.

"He ... just started shooting up the place. I ran up to the third floor and I looked down and he was still shooting," Osei said. "He was hiding behind the vending machines and he came out with a gun and started pointing and pointed at me. So I ran up the stairs. I saw a girl get shot in the leg."

Osei said people in the cafeteria were all lying on the floor.

"I saw the gunman who was dressed in black and at that time he was shooting at people," student Michel Boyer told CTV. "I immediately hit the floor. It was probably one of the most frightening moments of my life."

"He was shooting randomly, I didn't know what he was shooting at, but everyone was screaming get out of the building," Boyer said. "Everybody was in tears. Everybody was so worried for their own safety for their own lives."

Raamias Hernandez, 19, said he had just finished his class when he saw everybody starting to run.

He said the gunman was dressed in a black jacket and had a mohawk haircut. Hernandez said he started to take pictures on a camera cell phone with his friend and the suspect saw them and started shooting.

Student Devansh Smri Vastava said he saw a man in military fatigues with "a big rifle" storm the cafeteria.

"He just started shooting at people," Vastava said, adding that he heard about 20 shots fired. He also said teachers ran through the halls telling students to get out.

"We all ran upstairs. There were cops firing. It was so crazy," Vastava said. "I was terrified. The guy was shooting at people randomly. He didn't care, he was just shooting at everybody. I just got out."

A SWAT team and canine units were dispatched to the school, going floor by floor to look for victims, Sgt. Giuseppe Boccardi told CNN.

People also were evacuated from two nearby shopping centers.

Canada's worst mass shooting also happened in Montreal. Gunman Marc Lepine killed 14 women at the Ecole Polytechnic on Dec. 6, 1989, before shooting himself.

The 25-year-old Lepine roamed the halls of the school firing a rifle, specifically targeting women whom he claimed in a suicide note had ruined his life. Nine other women and four men were wounded.

That shooting spurred efforts for tighter gun laws and greater awareness of societal violence - particularly domestic abuse. Canada's tighter gun law was achieved mainly as the results of efforts by survivors and relatives of the victims.

Another shooting in Montreal occurred in 1992, when a Concordia University professor killed four colleagues.

Dawson College was the first English-language institution in Quebec's network of university preparatory colleges when it was founded in 1969. It is the largest college of general and vocational education, known by its French acronym CEGEP, in the province.

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