School Shootings in Montreal

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 4th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Death>Grief

The tragic death female engineering students in the engineering department of the University of Montreal was the first school shooting in Montreal in 1999.

The Dawson College shooting was the second school shooting on September 13, 2006.


We all remember the terrible tragedy which happened at Columbine High School. On April 20, 1999, in Jefferson Country Colorado where two young men, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 fellow students and a teacher, as well as wounding 24 others, before committing suicide The world reeled from the tragic events, the media took hold of this senseless massacre considered to be the second worst school shooting in United States History. Hollywood sensationalized the tragedy and documentaries and movies followed

École Polytechnique of the University of Montreal

Canadians shook our heads in disbelief, and many people were convinced that this sort of thing would never happen in Canada. We are a peaceful country we have gun control. We can afford to be smug and point fingers at our American cousins. But how many Canadians even knew that Canada already had its own Columbine, right here in my own beloved city, Montreal?

Montrealers, knew full well what devastation something like this could cause because we already had our own infamous school shooting.

On December 6, 1989, at the École Polytechnique of the University of Montreal, a lone gunman, Marc Lepine, walked into the university on a killing rampage. He entered a classroom armed with a lightweight Sturm Ruger Mini-14, .223-caliber semi-automatic rifle. He ordered the men to leave and the 10 women presented in this engineering school classroom to stay. He killed six of the women. He left the classroom and continued shooting women as he saw them in the corridor. In the end he had shot and killed a total of 14 women before killing himself.

As I walked by

Fast forward to September 13, 2006

I walked by Dawson College last night on my way to the synagogue as I had done hundreds of times before. I got off the bus and started to walk up the hill by the College. It should have been routine, it should have been an ordinary evening; it should have been simply a time for me to think about the myriad of things that are going on in my life as I made the familiar weekly trek. Instead this journey was not about me and the happenings in my personal world. It was about the world of Dawson College, the very same college I attended in the 1970's.

Dusk had already set in on the streets of Montreal but the corner of De Maisonneuve and Atwater lit up with candles. The light from these candles were visible from the bus stop as I got out. I walked up the street and entered the crowd of students gathered there. No one spoke. Everyone stood in silence in front of the flowers and candles reflecting upon the recent terrible happenings that transpired just a few days before. I stopped my walk and stood in silence with them. I said a silent prayer until the tears welled up and I decided it was time to move on.

I continued my walk up the hill and saw more deposits of flowers in front of the two separate sets of cast iron gates. Each inch of the campus stood out as a bold reminder of the horrible day that wrecked the lives of so many students.

Sept 13, 2006, was the day that took the life of 18 year old Anastasia De Sousa, a beautiful young woman and business student who dreams and aspirations were cut short in the very prime of her life.

As I neared the final corner of the campus on my way to the synagogue I stopped to talk to a middle aged man and his young daughter who had parked their car to deposit flowers at the site. I pointed him in the direction of the vigil and they thanked me for it. No more words were exchanged. The city is still very much in shock.

The families of all the victims who were shot by a madman are in shock but they are also angry. There is a public outcry now in Quebec for stricter gun control. The current federal administration is thinking of banning the proposed gun registry law. The ironic part of all this is that the gunman, 25 year old Kimveer Gill had passed the government safety tests and was a licensed gun owner. He was also a member of two different gun clubs here in Quebec. Marco Pendenza, an employer at one of the gun clubs states "Belonging to a gun club doesn't make you a criminal," Pendenza added. "You can't control someone going nuts."

What makes a person like Kimveer Gill into a murderer? What would send him over the edge? The neighbours reported that Kimveer was a loner. Even the parents of Kimveer could not answer that question. They too were shocked that he would do such a thing. They told the police that he lived in secrecy and they had no knowledge of his private life.

Kimveer Gill

Yet much of who Kimveer Gill really was could be viewed on his blog on the website Here we have a portrait of a young man obsessed with firearms. He posted photos of himself wearing a black trench coat and wheeling guns and knives. The blog also includes a photo of a tombstone with his name printed on it. Below it, the phrase reads: "Lived fast died young. Left a mangled corpse."

Through his journal entries, "Gill reveals himself as a lonely, troubled person with a hatred of society and authority figures especially police, principals and teachers. He blames jocks for high school bullying."

What psychologists say

Many Psychologists maintain that more should be done to help these individuals alienated from society before such crimes happen. Former Toronto homicide detective Mark Mendolson believes someone who saw Gill posing with a gun on his blog should have alerted authorities. "Something like this, you don't keep to yourself" Mendolson goes on to say, "So there are probably scores of his peers or colleagues from school, who have seen him with this gun -- I am quite sure. And what did they all do about it?"

On the other hand, Jethro Berelson, owner of urges the public not to condemn Goth culture because of this incident. He feels that most members of his website are friendly and nice and do not commit crimes. He admits that he is urging site members to report suspicious behaviour and it is difficult for him to moderate everything; "there are just too many blogs." He ended by telling The Canadian Press ""It's not like we can moderate everything. And even if he is holding a gun in a picture, that's not necessarily a crime."

I find another interesting point in all this is that Kimveer Gill did not attend Dawson College. Why did he pick this particular educational institution to carry out murder/suicide rampage? Will anyone ever know?

All photos taken from the public domain

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Gun Control, Gun Control Registry

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar n.c.radomes
4th Apr 2015 (#)

Scary! Boys who exhibit more than love for weapons gun, knives, anything deadly are dangerous. They're perverted thinking other peers are dangerous like themselves so they always carry with them weapons. Experts are needed to change their mental setup,

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author avatar Kingwell
5th Apr 2015 (#)

We may never know why these young people act as they do but certainly they are mentally unstable. When children and young people have no friends, are bullied and taunted there is likely trouble ahead in some form. Often it is suicide but sometimes it is such violence as you describe here. Blessings.

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